We all have them. We all give them. Yet, sometimes, I think we have too many, and we assert them too quickly…let’s be real for a minute…I know I do, at times…and I’m working on that.

We can’t assume we know the person nor from whence they come lest the road alongside them we travel. This can, especially, happen in the blogging world, can’t it? Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about…

I was reading a blog entry on day, and this young woman had written about the man she was missing. “…can’t breathe. Can’t sleep….sad…he’s been gone two years…” The impression was, for me, she was missing him from death. I commented to her of prayers for her loss, praying she would find comfort and grace. Then, as I read other comments, and her response, I come to realize the guy just keeps coming back and leaving. Ok, so, that was a little annoying! (Just being honest here) At first, I felt bad for her, as she grieved; however, it seemed to, now, be a pattern which she was allowing. That isn’t true grief; that’s being used and making room for it. 
Another blog entry from someone else showed pictures of beauty, words of joy. It was inspiring, encouraging. After I sent a comment, the reply I received proved she was heartbroken and desperate.
We truly can never judge a book by its cover. We can never judge a life by its appearance and, sometimes, not even by their spoken words. There are so many hurting, dying people in this world, and they will simply paint a face of happiness to shield them from further pain. They will simply withdraw; so, no one realizes the depression…because, after all, the outside world never really understands that emotion much anyway. If you don’t believe me, just open the paper and read of the heartbreaking suicides where the friends state they had no clue the person was unstable, because they simply did their job and went home. 

We can only truly know a person’s heart when we walk hand in hand, when we gently ask and are allowed inside the gates of a guarded soul, when they allow us to see their vulnerability and their truth. Sometimes, this can come simply by asking. There are those who are just waiting for someone to show they care. There are others with whom it will take days, months or even years to crack the solid built encasing of their heart, because they have fortified it for years. 

We have to determine how much we truly care and how much time we are willing to give in each relationship. Sometimes, we are too busy to give the adequate care, and so, we simply assume a certain thing, and never try to understand. Other times, we don’t have the right tools to do the hard work of listening and learning, because, after all, that’s not our personality, not our gifting, or even, not our calling. Often, it may be that the other person doesn’t have the ability to give, because so much has been taken from them. The stories and scenarios are endless. It’s so hard to know. 

Yet, for those whom we truly love, for those with whom we find our worlds colliding, we must be able to give the time and attention to break down the expectations and put away the assumptions so that true friendships and deep relationships will last. We may not understand, but the longer we walk the road together, we can learn together. We begin to see “by and by.”