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trouble by the pound

illustration by steed media service

People are quick to commiserate with you when you stumble. They watch
you struggling under extreme conditions and – extraordinary people,
anyway – offer to help lighten your load. It is not an easy thing to
do. It’s much easier to tsk-tsk and offer a pat on the back than it is
to put a little iron behind your compassion and extend yourself. Of
course, some people are so glad the weight’s not on them that they’ll
avoid you like you have a communicable disease – just in case your
condition really is contagious.

Some folks believe in luck. A time of trial of tribulation is just a
run of bad luck. A spate of good luck means things are going just how
they should or how you want them to. Nonsense. The universe is not
conspiring to bless you or curse you. What is going on in your life is
not a mystery or a puzzle, or at least, it shouldn’t be. Where you are
in your life right now is the sum total of every decision you have ever
made and are continuing to make. That doesn’t mean you have control
over every aspect of your existence. But what is under your control,
absolutely, at all times, is yourself. You control your actions and
reactions. There are no thought police running your gray matter. Or at
least, there shouldn’t be.

Everybody has a cross to bear. Struggle is a part of the human
condition. Although their challenges may be different, pain is not
unique to any particular group or ethnicity. That means we should have
more than empathy for someone who is fighting for his or her life.
Their struggle is our struggle. We need to recognize that their demise
is our demise; if they are diminished, we are diminished. When we fail
to save our brothers, we fail to save ourselves. Peace.