I found out yesterday that my beautiful, energetic, happy, and seemingly healthy four-year-old golden retriever has a life threatening heart murmur. While still in the prime of her life, she will need to see a cardiologist and be put on medication to regulate her heart. Misty was showing no signs of being sick. She and her sister, Rosie, chase each other around the yard and the house on a daily basis. She eats well and has a great disposition. I never imagined that her routine checkup would reveal a condition that could, at any moment, take her life.
This situation has gotten me thinking about, not just Misty, but others who may have something hidden from the outside world. We encounter dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people every day. How many of those people have something going on inside their bodies or in their lives of which we are completely unaware? How can we possibly know everything that another person is going through?
Sometimes when my children complain about somebody in their class, I remind them that they have no idea what that person might be going through outside of school. Perhaps that person who refused to give up his seat to you on the subway, or the person at the grocery store who grumbled and complained the entire time she was packing your groceries, just received terrible news or is going through some kind of personal turmoil. I think that we tend to believe that if somebody looks great on the outside or has a smile on their face all of the time that their life must be perfect. In reality, this is rarely the case. Everybody is going through something all of the time.
So the next time you meet up with somebody who isn’t in a good mood, smile at them, and be kind. You never know if that small gesture will add the little bit of brightness they need at that moment. And always remember that even those with a smile on their face and those who always look happy and healthy could have something hidden that is wreaking havoc on their body, mind, or soul. How you treat them and react to them could make a huge impact on their lives and perhaps even your own.
Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels. Her first book, A Place to Call Home is in its second printing and may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks. Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.