August 21. “Caring about others, running the risk of feeling and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.” (Ralph Harold Kushner)
Caring about others brings risk to my own feelings. As long as I keep myself walled off from caring about, and empathizing with others, I can keep myself from getting hurt. I don’t have to deal with the pain of rejection or disappointment, and I never share in the sorrows and pains of another. I can turn myself into the proverbial rock, an island cut off from others and immune to their pain. What a truly sad existence that would be.
It is true that when I open my heart to others I run the risk of pain. It is only when I let someone into the secret garden of my inner soul that I can ever let them really hurt me. Sure, people I know nothing about and care not a lick for can hurt me as well, but not in the way that someone who has touched my heart can. Only a person truly close to me can hurt me deeply, all else is superficial.
But that is only one side of the many-faceted diamond that comes from caring. Unless I open my heart to another person, I can never experience love at any meaningful level.
When I open myself to care about another person, I open myself to love them, and for them to love me. That love is worth all of the pain that may come with the risk. The joy, the fulfillment, the comfort in times of sorrow, the encouragement – all of it are possible only when I first allow myself to care about another person.
Today my reflection is short and sweet. Today I am thinking about all of the people in my life who have taken the risk to care about me. I am thankful every day for the family and friends I have who have invested their hearts in me, and I pray that I am doing all I can to give back, and to show them the love and caring that I am abundantly shown.