Peace in Others’ Pain

Photo by Taryn Elliott on

I was putting on my makeup this morning after a great workout and shower when a thought occurred to me. The mind is a powerful thing and who knows why it comes up with the things that it does. But I suddenly recalled a moment from the past (well over ten years ago).

I had slept over at the home of a dear loved one after some event (I can’t even remember what the party was for). When we rose in the morning for pancakes and coffee, this person saw me in my raw, unkempt self and replied, “Oh, you’re ugly like me in the morning.”

It was a strange thing for a person to say, admittedly. I want to say that at the time I agreed with this person and laughed it off, not quite sure how to react or what to say. I’m good at that. I keep the peace by agreeing with people and rarely have a witty retort at the ready.

Now, I am fair skinned with light eyebrows, eyelashes, and eyes. I look different with makeup on. I have worn makeup everyday until my thirties, when multiple kids and responsibilities made makeup less of a concern. Or, from a practical standpoint, I had less time to mess with it.

For some completely unknown reason, that moment in time popped into my head this morning. I was adding mascara (side note: Urban Decay Lash Freak is fabulous) and saw that moment play in my head again. Only this time, I had a completely different reaction.

Instead of thinking how sad it had been for someone to call me ugly (a person I love and care about) I suddenly realized how much pain that person had been in to say such a thing. I suddenly realized pain makes people say things that can be untrue.

I realize that this is VERY OBVIOUS! But in the heat of a moment, it is difficult to maintain clarity on such things, I promise you.

I don’t think I’m ugly. Nor do I think that person is ugly. I do think pain is real and that it can create ugliness.

I saw this moment frozen in my mind, took a deep breath and found peace. I saw that someone else’s pain doesn’t have to be my pain.

I don’t think about this moment at all. I hadn’t thought of it for a very long time. It is not a moment in time that created a burden or repetitive loop in my brain for me. But there was still room to find peace within it. There was an opportunity to recognize there are a million moments such as these in our days: moments when pain becomes ugliness that leads to untrue words spoken.

And I don’t have to take those moments or words or memories into my heart. Instead, I can choose peace and truth and let it all slip away like sand, falling away from my mind and heart.

Musing on this thought brought me peace today.

What brought you peace? Share the peace!

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