Our local Albertson's is closing. It's a lovely store, new, clean, spacious, friendly ... now plastered with 25% off signs that will only get more dramatic as the final day approaches. But, below the shattered glass of the actual store closing, below the rational decision undoubtedly based on hard facts and figures, lie a thousand stories. Single moms and seniors, many without cars, walk to the store. It is part of their support system, their lifeline to food and necessities, part of their social network. Most of the employees will go on to find other jobs eventually but, for one employee who recently lost his wife, the store is his family and he can't stop crying.
It reminds me that below the surface of everyone we know and meet, there is an unseen burden and untold pain and loss. Perhaps just remembering that would make us kinder in our everyday interactions with others. As Jack Kornfeld says, "In the end, it is not the sorrow of the world that matters but our heart's response to it. Compassion is sharing in the beauty of life and in the ocean of tears."