The Thing I Like About …

… Forrest Gump: the part where Lieutenant Dan grabs Forrest by the lapels and demands to know if Forrest “knows what it’s like” not to be able to use his legs.

Forrest grew up with braces on his legs, limping and clumping his way through childhood so that his back and legs could learn to work together. He knows very well what it’s like not to have use of his legs, but no one meeting him now would know that, because the braces worked, and they went away, and Forrest got his legs back.

He knows very well what it’s like, but no one meeting him now would know that.

We get very attached to our pain, and to our troubles, and to our shortcomings and failings and disappointments. It’s not that we shouldn’t express our fear, or pain, or heartache … but we often behave as if no one else could possibly know what we’re going through, as if everybody else’s well-meaning encouragement, support, and advice are just the naïve blustering of people who’ve never encountered hardship in their lives. This, of course, causes us to lash out at the very people who showed up to help and care about us.

And of course, it causes us to turn a blind eye to others’ struggles, challenges, and hardships, especially if those others don’t feel the need to be as … expressive … about the things they’ve experienced. We can’t imagine getting through our own difficulties – they just seem so huge – so we can’t imagine that others – who are smiling or laughing or walking or whatnot – ever had any troubles at all. We can’t imagine that anything could be hidden … and we do others and ourselves a grave disservice thereby.

When you find yourself burdened by life’s lovely little gut-kicks, do you grab people by the metaphorical – or actual – lapels and angrily ask them if they know what “it’s” like? I bet anything they do … and that if you were willing to see that, then maybe they could help you feel better. Maybe they could even help you find a way back to “good”.

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