There is no pain like being a parent; nor like not being a parent. No pain like sharing your home with others; nor like living alone. No pain like that of youth, life stretching, out of reach, too far ahead of you; nor like that of old age, life stretching, out of reach, too far behind; nor, again, like that of those stranded between those two horizons.
Every condition of life has its own unique sorrow, that can only be known from the inside. But the purpose of all pain is to train us in empathy. I do not know your pain, but I know pain. We are in this together. We get to choose whether we harden ourselves against pain, which will harden us against the pain of others; or allow pain to soften our hearts, our souls, towards one another.
Be as gentle and as courageous as you are able today; and forgive yourself and others where, in our pain, we lose sight of these things. This will take a lifetime.
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