It’s not until you have fought a few battles of your own, and walked out of the smoking ruins of what is left. Singed clothing, battle scars and a faint glitter in your eye that suggests to the observant that you have seen. You have felt, you have fought hard and you have emerged.
It is not until you have limped away from the battle field and then started tending to your wounds that you can actually see and appreciate what other people are going through.
I have looked at what others are facing and had many emotions, from horror to disbelief. I have doubted my own ability to deal with what others are facing. At times I want to stand beside them and applaud them, for the grace, their strength, their courage.
Bravery is not doing something awesome, bravery is facing a foe you are not convinced you can best and having a go anyway. Bravery is not running away from what daunts you, but gritting your teeth and walking toward the flames anyway.
As I have gotten older, I have become more and more aware of the sheer bravery of ordinary people around me. And I am awestruck. They never make excuses, they never turn into victims, they don the uniform of the survivor and they start battle.
Wow! These are ordinary people. Mums, wives, aunts, dads, uncles, husbands, children, neighbours.
And once you have been through, endured and survived, it becomes so easy to be kind. Kinder than you may have ever experienced, and generously empathetic. Not sympathetic, survivors don’t want you to be sorry for them. They just want to know that someone understands.