I went to college in Syracuse, NY and I’m back now for my roommate’s wedding. I couldn’t be happier to be here or to celebrate such a genuinely kind person and her equally kind tomorrow-to-be husband. In revisiting some old haunts, I headed to Strong Hearts Café, which I was delighted to see had not changed a bit in five year. It’s vegan, provides free coffee refills, and has a list of milkshakes named after radical, influential, and often forgotten people (my personal favorite names include Tiananmen Square Guy, The Haudenosaunee, The White Rose, Sacco & Vanzetti, Howard Zinn, and Paul Rusesabagina). What’s not to love? Actually I can answer that: the lack of cheese.
A girl in her late teens or early twenties came in with a woman I assume was her mother and sat at the table next to me. The girl remained at their table while the mother went to the counter to order. Alone, the girl started to cry. She regained composure and then broke into new tears several times while they waited for a strawberry waffle.
My heart went out to her while I sat at my table and tried to concentrate on my book. I wanted to reach over and tell her that it would all be okay. I wanted to ask if she needed a hug. I wanted to help her stop hurting.
So I wrote her a note on a napkin.
The girl and her mother asked for a takeaway box and left while I was writing, so I never dropped it on their table. Maybe had I started writing earlier, instead of waiting to see if the waffle would help her feel better, I could have been of comfort in some way. Instead, I’ll leave the note here in case she reads this blog. Stranger things have happened, right?
I know life can sometimes be very hard. I’m sorry for whatever you’re going through. I’m sorry you’re hurting.
But I also know that this, too, shall pass. Every day will be easier than the last.
You are not alone. The people in your life are here for you. Everyone hurts sometimes – we are all here for you.
Fall down seven times, stand up eight.
You can do it.
As I’ve been typing this, Jakob Dylan’s “Everybody’s Hurting” is playing in my head. (Let the record show that there are often songs playing in my head.) It’s a little church-y but I really love this line: My sweetheart we’ve got to learn to live with these ghosts/They can’t leave and we can’t go.
This is the message I want to send to everyone who is hurting, for whatever reason. This is for anyone who needs a friendly face or a shoulder to cry on. I am here for you. If we have yet to meet or if I’ve known you for a long time, I am here for you. Whatever your ghosts, I am here for you. We are all humans, and therefore I am here for you. No questions asked.