Learning a friend has abruptly left home is never a great way to begin the week, but that's how mine just started. Of course, I'm running a million scenarios through my mind, and I just don't have any answers. I don't know where he is, or how he is. Nor does his family, because no one's heard from him. And as finals approach, and Christmas comes near, I'm suddenly wondering how I can pause all of this busy world, and reassess what's important.
Christmas is supposed to be happy, but as I think of the end of November and the beginning of December, I begin to wonder if we don't rush things and forget about people. Do we even hear it when they need help? Or do we drown out any signs in a loud, hectic world?
It seems to me that everyone is quick to point out who has it worse. High school seniors laugh at the incoming freshman who says life is hard, and college students tell high schoolers they have it easy. Adults with steady jobs tell teens they're lucky, but you can even find the same amount of older adults who would overhear this and say they have it even worse, just wait until you're close to retirement…
I get the feeling I could live my whole life always being told that I can't complain because someone else has it worse.
And I'm not denying that's true; I've been very blessed, so it probably always will be. But, for one moment, can we all just please listen to people when they struggle, all comparison aside?
Just because someone isn't going through the most difficult thing in the world, doesn't mean it's not the most difficult thing they can take at the moment. And I wonder how many more people would feel loved and at home if only we showed genuine care rather than comparison.
So for the friend who's gone – please come home. I'm hoping by now, you already have. You don't have to come because of approaching finals. You don't even have to come because of Christmas. But come because we care about you, so many people do. I'm praying for you.
And for all the rest of us… maybe in the future, we should listen. Maybe we should be the first to text and check up on someone instead of assuming we're going to see them that week. I just wonder if that might keep more people grounded than we think, might help them get through even one more day at a time. Because people are so much more important than things, and that's a real blessing we should celebrate.