I ran into an old friend at the grocery store this week - a girl from my high school years. And yes, even at age 64, they are still "girls."
We spent a few moments catching up on mutual friends - those usual stories of illness, grandchildren, retirement, etc. A fairly common conversation at this point in our lives.
While listening to her quick recap of her past 40 years or so, I was struck by the realization that we all have stories of our journeys through life. And with some glaring exceptions, all of those stories seem to have a common theme.
Every one of us experiences our share of ups and downs. Some are blessed with more "ups" than "downs."
Though somewhat prone in the political direction, I avoided all talk of our current state of affairs. One of the quicker ways to spoil a pleasant conversation is to tiptoe into the world of politics. I have found this revelation the hard way at some times in the past.
The conversation was brief as we stood blocking entrance into the grocery store. But truthfully, it doesn't take long to highlight your journeys if you simply touch on the high points and gloss over those low spells.
A quick hug and we parted ways.
And in reflection, I was struck by the common thread that runs throughout our lives. We all have troubles and we all have moments of pride and joy. Some scales are tipped in one direction while others obviously tilt the other way.
That quick conversation with a face from the past brought into focus another issue that we all share from time to time. I worry today about a wonderful friend of mine who is battling a fight none of us wants to face but the one we will all ultimately address.
And I pray. And I worry.
That's what you do for friends.
But these conversations and these common issues also focus you to address your own journey and rejoice.
The point is a simple one: We all take for granted the blessing in our lives and perhaps we're all guilty of dwelling on those low points.
But given a chance to compare our problems with others, few of us would be willing to swap our woes with others.