Part of me is mourning for the losses of lives of ones I don't even know. Is is possible for your heart to break for people you have never even met? I believe it is. Or maybe it is that your heart is more aware of ones you encounter daily. My friend Casi (of CupcakeMag) and I were texting and she informed me of Gia Allemand's death. I had no clue who Gia was (she is a gorgeous woman who had been on The Bachelor and in countless ads and magazines.) A young life that was taken by her own hands. Upon looking into who Gia was, I was lead to her instagram account. I looked through it staring at photos of her happy and smiling. Beautiful even without makeup and looking as if she was in love with life. That is the part that struck me the most. She had me fooled! Even though I knew the outcome, she had me fooled... she was happy! What went wrong? Why was this beautiful woman so hurt inside? I had many conversations about her over the next few days with friends, and it really struck something in me. There are so many people hurting and you may not see it or know it! You have no clue what people may be battling with internally. Happy faces don't exactly mean that people are happy.
What a realization it is to think that the way you interact with someone (even a stranger) could be the difference. Not saying that every interaction is saving lives, but what if it is the opposite - what if your being rude to someone was the last straw that put them over the edge because they had been battling so much more than that?! It certainly changed how I was seeing things. I may not be able to know how my words are reaching people, but I certainly can be responsible for making sure that people feel God's love through me. It is something I know I have been lacking in over the course of this last year. I am going through my own hard times, but that doesn't give me an excuse for not making sure that I shine my light for God.
There is a world full of hurting people and we are called to be The Light. The ones who show God's love to them, you may be the only piece of light that they will ever encounter. Don't be fooled into thinking accounts with strangers don't matter, because they do! You have no clue what you are imparting into someone that you have a brief moment with, so be sure that you are speaking love and life. A smile is so easy and letting someone in front of you in line won't take an hour. There are so many things we can do constantly that would make small differences! I struggle so much with watching my words, but I can tell you it is something I work really hard at. Witnessing my boys being a spark of joy to those around them has changed me. It has given me hope to try and do the same. It has pushed me to reach out when I really just would rather sit on the sidelines. Don't sit on the sidelines. I don't want to sit on the sidelines! I want to be the change!
It is my prayer that my boys reach out to the lost and hurting. I am starting to realize that my own life is the first example they are able to see and experience in this regard. Life is too short to watch people throw it away. It hurts so bad to think that people feel there is no way out. I am so glad to know there is grace and hope. I am looking to tomorrow and hoping to be the change. It is something I my fail at. I am sure at times I will forget. But I am so thankful that my boys are watching and reminding me that my words and actions matter. My boys have made me realize that I want to do more in this life than I ever have and touching lives is at the front of that list! There are so many people to reach and we can't wait until tomorrow - there may not be a tomorrow for them...
On a different take looking at Gia's instagram made me realize that a lot of times we feel like we know somebody via social media - they let you see peeks into their lives and show you what they are going through and part of who they are, but that's just it, it is only part of who they are. Just because we see bits of them doesn't mean that we know what they are going through and what struggles they face. So many of us keep it in. So many of us only share the good and the pretty. There is so much of our character that is missing when you only see us on a screen, things that you would only know if you met us in person. There is a whole side of people that is lost in social media and it is far from the truth to think otherwise. So be aware that you don't know the whole story. If you speak words of hate, you may be helping them fight a battle within them that you don't even know is taking place. Your words are always more powerful than you realize.