Rev Andrew J Demotses
I recently had a heart-rending conversation with a wonderful young woman who, outwardly at least, seemed to have a fulfilling life. During our chat, however, I sensed that everything was not going as well with her as outward appearance indicated. With very little prompting, she readily confided that she had been deeply depressed over a number of years, and that on several occasions had even entertained the possibility of suicide.
She came from a caring family, and enjoyed numerous friendships, but none of the people in her life had sensed her deep distress and unhappiness. It was not that they didn’t care; quite the opposite was true. Rather it was that life had somehow become so hectic that there was little time for meaningful conversation and deep personal sharing. Distracted by the mundane, they had neglected what was truly important.
We can be sure that we also come in contact every day with many people who are carrying heavy burdens, facing trying situations, or worrying about the future. Oftentimes, they can unknowingly be the very people closest to us. They need and long for a kind word, a sympathetic ear, and a warm smile that reflects a caring heart.
When this young woman began to experience the encouragement and hope that flows with Christ-like love from loved ones, she turned her life around, and began the long process of healing. For this reason, we all need to be attentive and focused not only on our own needs, but on those of others, so that we can offer encouragement to people who are hurting. We need to have our lives and relationships reflect the admonition of St. Paul who wrote “you are the people of God . . . so you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity.” (Col. 3:12-14). If you come upon someone today without a smile, resolve to give him one of yours.
- Rev. Andrew Demotses
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