This week gave me an opportunity to discover strength within me that I never knew I had. I gained the experience of being the rock for someone else to lean on (for a change)–a position that I’ve never truly been in before. My instinct in the past has been to tell the other person what to do while they’ve been in the middle of their pain, instead of listening and allowing them to feel whatever they were feeling (which is what would have actually been helpful). Perhaps I was too scared of their feelings, because I didn’t know how to handle my own? Well, this time was different. This time I was able to trust that simply being present, warm and understanding would be enough.

I’m not freaked out by other people’s pain or problems anymore like I used to be. Having begun to come to terms with my own tragedies, and also having heard a lot of fucked up life-stories from other people, I’ve come to understand that we all have our burdens to carry in this world. I’m realizing that I don’t have to carry other people’s baggage–it is not my job. It is enough for me to carry my own. But I can be of support and I can give love.  And every once in a while I can be Sam to someone else’s Frodo, if needed.  It is quite a privilege.

“Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers