We are not born with hardened hearts. Unfortunately, it is sometimes an effect of our desire to do more than we are able when we feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
The world takes its toll on us all in one fashion or another. Our hearts become callused trying to shield ourselves from the pain and the disappointments around us.
Revealing emotion or allowing others to see how deeply we care increases our level of vulnerability. We all know of times that we pull back. But what do we lose if we withdraw from the world we care about? What is there in our lives that we truly care about that we can keep to ourselves and still be content?
We are not meant to keep our emotions to ourselves.
A flower that fails to bloom goes unnoticed and can never be fully appreciated. The intense feelings we have inside of ourselves are meant to be shared in a constructive way and can influence the lives of others around us. Without revealing emotions we appear inanimate and uncaring.
We would all like to see a world where the most defenseless life is treated with respect and the weakest individuals are able to thrive not merely because they can provide for themselves but also because we extend our hand to them, and they reach out in return to others.
We must never allow ourselves to become numb to suffering or accept the idea that our actions don’t make a difference.
A gentler society with a stronger resemblance to our own vision of humanity does not come about by simply wishing for it. We must be willing to enter the arena, stand amid the instability, reassemble the pieces and know that our involvement can ease suffering with compassion.
When we feel as if we can tolerate no more, we can look to the doctors and nurses in the emergency rooms, the men and women who provide for neglected children and the people who work with humane societies across the country. All of them stand strong in the sometimes vicious cycle of everyday life.
These people have a strength that could be absorbed by us all. They have an ability to go forward in hard times, an ability to help where they can and not destroy themselves when they can’t. These are the people who help us see that there is joy in life that comes from helping one another.
It’s not always easy to openly express ourselves and act on our beliefs. But without emotional expression we can suppress the true meaning of who we are. Life is too short to hide our emotions because of insecurity. We are not all that different from one another. Emotions hurt us and scare us, yet all that is best in life is a part of our emotions.
It is easy to focus on all we are unable to achieve rather than all of the things we can accomplish. We all know people who seem to care too much and withdraw because of frustration or disappointment. But when the people who care so much withdraw, we lose the ones who make the most difference. If we retreat from frustration and cynicism, we can accomplish nothing. But if we stay and participate and refuse to give in to the frustration, then we can change a piece of our world.
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40 (NIV)