I once lived a really simple, privileged life. And then I turned 22 and everyone started dying, my health went to shit, and I found out that my husband of three months is addicted to drugs. Ok, it’s not really that bad. Except maybe it kind of is that bad, because all of those statements just so happen to be true.
Now please don’t feel sorry for me. Because all of those pitying looks of, “wow, she just really can’t catch a break, can she?” are really just starting to wear on the nerves. Trust me, if you’re on this planet the time will come when you can’t catch a break. And it will be terrible. But you’ll also find your own way to pull up those boot straps and keep on steppin’… I’m sorry, I’m not just saying this out of irritation at being on the receiving end of pity (ok, but that’s not the main reason), but as one of my favorite poets, Micah Bournes, would say: to be alive is to be ill.
But hold up. Just to remind us, this is not a pity train we’re drivin’. I don’t need any more passengers hoppin’ aboard to commiserate with me that life is unfair, that the world is unjust, that sometimes people just suck. But this is an open invitation from a struggling human for passengers to board her train to an unexpected destination. So far, I’ve yet to correctly guess where we are going. But what I do know is that the ride seems a little more manageable when a kind human jumps aboard my train and asks, “hey, how ya doin’ today?” and then genuinely listens to the answer. And the ride seems a little less daunting when I return the question with, “and how are you doin’?” and the same kind human that just heard that things aren’t going so great will still honestly share that today is a wonderful day. And the ride can even start to feel a little fun when people hop aboard and find something to laugh at, maybe even dare to find a little humor in how ironically hard life is sometimes. The ride can even start to seem worth it when some other tousled up people hop on the train just to sit with me, not to fix a thing, not to offer blind hope, not to give empty encouragement, but just to sit with me and be, because sometimes together is the only way we survive the ride.
So here is an open invitation from a struggling human who is asking for some passengers to board her train to an unexpected destination. And here is a little nudge to any other struggling humans to just say the word, and I will gladly be a passenger on your train to who knows where. Because traveling alone really sucks. And even if you’re one of those weirdos that like to travel solo, I’d still suggest that every so often you grab a buddy, because sometimes riding together is the only way we’re going to survive.