Sunday was a day like any other for me. I was at home, surrounded by the people I love most. Two of my three adult children had come over, along with their spouses. My oldest grandson was running around the living room pretending to be Spiderman. My youngest grandson, only three weeks old, was busy being admired and passed around, all of us so happy just to hold him. When my children come to visit, it is always noisy and animated, and I know my neighbors down the street can probably hear our laughter and teasing. This is not unusual for us, just a normal Sunday—a day like any other.
In the back of my mind, though, was another family. A young girl I have known since she was in grade school was in the middle of delivering her stillborn son. She and her husband had tried so hard to get pregnant and they were so close to realizing their dream. She was more than eight months pregnant, but for reasons I can’t begin to understand, the baby died in utero and she had to endure the labor and delivery knowing he was already gone. I thought about her and her husband all day, my heart heavy in my chest. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they were having the worst day of their young lives. There isn’t anything you can say in moments like these, so I prayed instead. I thought of her parents, who I know must be shattered as well. It all seems so unnecessarily cruel and so, so heavy. No one should have to endure the loss of a child—ever.
Across town, another young woman I know had started the first day of her vacation. It was a miracle they even got to go, with Corona still factoring into every single thing we do. Her wedding invitation hangs on my fridge, the date getting closer with each passing day. She is infused with the light of being in love and the excitement of her upcoming marriage. You can feel her euphoria in every post she creates, eyes smiling and her joy so big you could reach out and touch it like a living, breathing thing. She is enjoying some of the best days of her life, and I am so happy for her. Her happiness makes me smile, and I’m glad to be a small part of that. It lifts me up and lightens my load, which is a gift I don’t take for granted.
An ordinary day. A worst day. A best day.
At any given moment, we are all collectively having some form of this experience. Life is beautiful and joyous and thrilling and at times gut-wrenching and heartbreaking and indescribably sad. It is all these things and more, and the truth is, we really don’t know what another person is experiencing. We watch through our filtered lenses of perception, but no one but God knows what is in another person’s heart. When I meet angry and frustrated people, I try to remember that there is more there than I can see. Maybe they are planning a funeral or losing their home due to being unemployed for three months. Maybe they just had a big fight with the person they love most. Who knows? Conversely, the people who smile at me above their masks or say hello as I pass them on the street? Maybe they are experiencing tremendous blessings and are excited about life, even in the midst of chaos. Or maybe they have already survived their worst day and know we could all use some compassion. It’s hard to say.
These young women have caused me to stop and pray more often than I thought possible. They are both beautiful, kind, and wonderful and deserve every good thing in life, yet they are having vastly different experiences right now, to say the least. Such is life. My takeaway from this is not to view my ordinary Sunday as anything less than extraordinary. A blessing in its simplicity and uneventfulness, a treasure to be held loosely in the palm of my hand, grateful for all that I have been given. I will strive to be kinder, more patient, and more compassionate. I will remember that each of us, on any given Sunday, might be having an ordinary day, a best day, or a worst day, and I will allow that knowledge to make me better. It’s all I have to offer, but maybe, just maybe, that’s enough.