My good friend Jessica has a quote in her email signature that says,

“Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle”    – T.H. Thompson and John Watson

Whenever she emails, I’m reminded of her willingness to live her life true to those words, and she does.

As I have shared, my son Evan is mentally ill, and some days are more difficult than others.  After several specialists, dozens of doctors, and more medication than any child should have to take, he is still not healthy enough to experience what childhood has to offer “normal” kids.   He lives and experiences a very different world than most kids his age, and subsequently our entire family does too.  Doctors, behavior specialists , dedicated special education staff at school,  caregivers helping us at home, and several pills to swallow with each meal are all part of Evan’s typical day.

At the same time, work must be done and life must continue. I was at HEB in the checkout line the other day when the woman in front of me was all but screaming at the poor bagger because he had squished her bread. My first thought was, “How rude!” But then, I watched her, and she started to cry. I’m not sure what was going on in her life, but it was obvious she was having an extremely hard time.

The cashier started talking about her to me before the woman had even left the line.  He rolled his eyes and joked at her anger.  I simply said, you never know what someone is dealing with. We are all just doing the best we can.

I wish I could say that I’ve handled all of my struggles with grace and poise, but the truth is, I’m sure I’ve snapped at people and not been the nicest person to be around at times. Sometimes, it is just too overwhelming.

Whether we are rich or poor, young or old, educated or not, we are all doing the best we can given our current circumstances. I can say I am incredibly blessed to have such an amazing support system, you included.

You never know what someone is dealing with, and you never know when you might need someone to be a little empathetic and understanding when you are struggling.

This Thanksgiving, please be thankful and grateful for what you have. More importantly, think about what you’re grateful for the next day, and the day after that, and every day you’re lucky enough to be alive.

On behalf of my self and the SSG Team, Happy Thanksgiving.



  1. A fresh perspective on “Do unto others…” I know I’ve been guilty of unloading on the wrong person. It somehow feels safer to blow up at a small problem than actually deal with the one causing the problem.
    The straw didn’t break the camel’s back. It was the burdens underneath. But the straw gets the blame.
    Thanks, Ann. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

  2. Great thoughts. my wife of 33 years passed away March 6, 2010 after a twelve year battle with breast cancer. The holiday will be tough, but I remind myself that she left me two very beautiful daughters to spend the holidays with.

  3. Very well stated. Thanks for the reminder. Three boys came into our care over the weekend. Since holidays were such an important part of my growing up and continue to be today, I can’t imagine what it would be like to have no family with whom one could spend the holidays.

  4. I pondered this quote in essence over the weekend upon learning that my new sister in law had a mom that commited suicide. It was terrible to imagine that I just saw her joyous smile upon seeing my daughter’s delight when reuniting with her cousin as flower girls and then to hear this tragic news little more than a month later. I couldn’t imagine what my sister in law must have been feeling so I decided to follow my intuition and call her. She told me that it was still surreal and it was hard to believe. It’s true that we never know what another may be experiencing and feeling. The task is, I believe, to be humble and show compassion for all our fellow beings as we walk down the road of life together.

  5. I had that quote on my email signature for quite a while when i was going through my divorce a couple years ago. I had it to remind myself that I was not the only one going through a bad situation and also to hope that if I did react inappropriately they would give me a bit of a break.
    A couple weeks ago I had a bday party for 2 of my daughters and after an evening of 7 giggly girls and 4 boys and then a night of staying up late with the 7 girls and then a Sunday morning of one of the mothers calling me at 7am and then dealing with the 7 girls most of the day Sunday and I hadn’t eaten most of the day, I was at wit’s end by 3:30 that afternoon. There were 2 girls left who hadn’t gone home and I called the mother to ask if I could bring her home. She got upset with me and when I got off the phone I got upset with her daughter telling her she could tell her Mom I didn’t appreciate the way she was treating me. THEN the mother called me 2 days later yelling at me for talking about her to her daughter. I was standing in HEB listening to her yell at me, so I just hung up on her and called her back when I was in my car. She didn’t answer her phone, (caller ID, I’m sure), but I apologized to her for the way I acted and told her my situation of being hungry and exhausted. I told her to call me back if she would like to talk about it. She has not called me back and part if me wants to say, oh well, that’s her problem, but to do the right thing I feel I should try to call her again. She may be going through a hard time and I need to reach out to her. (Our daughters have been good friends for 6 years.) I don’t want to let this ruin our daughters relationship and her mother and I’s relationship either. It is hard to humble yourself at times though.

    • Hey Angela,

      Wow, that’s a tough one, but I think you’re right and should reach out again. Life’s too short. I know it’s hard to humble yourself, but remember the question, “What’s my goal? Am I trying to be right or get it right?” In this case, getting it right would be to keep the peace and help your daughter maintain her frienship. I hope you guys have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. I look forward to your message every week and so glad it comes on a Monday. I know that you must have your dark days, but you present such a positive outlook. You are truly an inspiration. It is a very powerful quote and one I will post on my office bulletin board. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Hi Michelle,

    You made my day. The last couple of months have been pretty dark, and I’m doing my best to stay positive. I have to work extra hard during these times to practice what I preach. It’s an ongoing process for all of us. Thanks for your comment, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment