No matter how hard it gets, life really is awesome.

Everyone has a story.   Everyone has obstacles to overcome.

Everyone can only feel what they feel.

And everyone copes in their own way.

No two people feel the exact same thing, but there is a universal core to all of us, and it is this core that makes us laugh at the same things, cry at the same thing, and share and understand both suffering and joy. This last week has been filled with some very difficult stories. Usually, we hide these stories under the mask of politeness as to not burden others with our concerns and what they feel as their own "baggage", but for whatever reason, perhaps the phase of the moon, or the alignment of the stars, people are sharing their stories.

How does one react when a story is being told? With sympathy? Advice? Relate their own similar stories to make the other feel that they are not alone? There is no right answer. Really, it depends on the person. Perhaps most people just want the listener to do just that. Listen. oh, and agree (of course). To validate that what their feeling is justifiable. Strangely, the hard part isn't the listening. It's the understanding. Again, no two people have the exact same story, so how can we come close to comprehending what the other person is going through? Ah yes, the universal truth that we all carry within us. Fear and love.

It is from these universal truths that we share the human experience. To be able to unload the heavy burden, and know that we all can share the weight of it, and therefore make it bearable. Life is more than just making things bearable. Life is meant to be lived. To breath the air. To feel rain and sun upon your skin. To walk upon this earth. To have experienced love in any and all its incarnations. To feel pain and know that you feel. And not to only understand, but to really know that wither it be good or bad, this very moment shall pass and all you can do is either endure or enjoy it.

A friend said that you cannot compare how we feel. That is true. But if you choose to, you can cherish all the good things you have in your life, learn from all the bad things, and remember that the only constant in life  is change.

So, this is to thank all my friends who help me carry my burdens, teach me so that I learn and grow to be a compassionate person, and who generously share their joy with me when there is little  joy to be found. I hope I can do the same for you.