by Kenneth Justice
~Do you ever feel that all the hard work your putting in is simply being ignored….that nobody values you and all that your doing?
—) A lot of employees feel this way at work, as though their bosses or managers simply don’t respect all that they do in the job
—) A lot of spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends feels this way; that their significant other doesn’t truly value all the time and energy they put into the relationship
—) A lot of children feel this way; that their parents don’t truly value how hard they are working in life, school, fill-in-the-blank
Its really difficult when we go through life and others don’t seem to value how hard we are working towards moving forward. It can feel like we are standing all alone on a street corner playing music; giving everything we’ve got….and people ignore us and walk by as though we don’t even exist.
When we go through struggles in life, and we all go through struggles at times, it can make the situation even tougher when it feels as though nobody cares about us….that nobody cares about how hard we are trying to keep our head above water.
Recently, a coffee house acquaintance told me, “It just feels like nobody cares about me. Everyone seems so consumed with their own problems and I often feel all alone…..stuck in the vicious cycle of my struggles…and it would just be nice if someone put their hand on my shoulder and said to me ‘hey, I can see how hard you are trying…keep it up’ ”
The simple fact of the matter is that a lot of us are working hard through various situations. Many people find themselves divorced and raising children, others find themselves working hard in their job trying to overcome debt, others are struggling with health problems and are trying to stay mentally healthy in order to deal with their physical problems…..and if we feel alone in the midst of our problems; life can seem even more tough than usual.
When I was traveling recently I snapped that photo of the man playing the Sax after I had been standing at a distance and watched him play for more than an hour…..during that time not a single person complimented him on his music, not a single person dropped a coin in his hat. We were at a very busy intersection and thousands of people walked by…yet nobody stopped and appreciated the music he was playing……nothing…nada. However, he just kept on playing.
I asked him about this and here is what the Sax Man said, “Its in my heart to play music man, so it doesn’t matter if anybody else cares….god cares” and he kept on playing. Whether we are religious or not I think we can see the beautiful attitude that the man exemplifies; sticking with something in the face of adversity.
Whether we are a writer, a painter, a poet, a parent, fill-in-the-blank…..whatever we are it doesn’t matter if we feel like nobody cares….we should just keep on playing….right?
There is something beautiful about what we are doing even if nobody else ever appreciates it. If you are a good spouse, good parent, good worker, or good artist…..even if nobody else cares….you can still find value in what you are doing. There are a lot of things in life where we must stay faithful in spite of whether or not anyone else ever appreciates us. That is a part of the maturation process…right? Not doing something in order to get accolades from others…but doing things because we know they are the right thing to do.
Obviously it is really tough to keep faithful in something when we feel all alone. And unfortunately, the statistics tell us that very high percentages of people in Western Culture feel all alone….they feel lonely. Perhaps those among us who do not feel all alone…..should take that extra few moments each day to stop by and have coffee with a friend or to make a phone call to someone who really needs to hear some encouragement.
Too much of life here in the Western World is discouraging. Turn on the NEWS and you are likely to feel discouraged. It also doesn’t help that the Western World is so individualistic; our attitude is too often ‘every man and woman for themselves’. Perhaps its time for more of us to break out of the mold that we’ve been forced into and do something out-of-the-ordinary;
—) Perhaps we should tell the person playing music on the corner “I appreciate you”
—-) Perhaps we should tell the single mother, “I really appreciate all you do for your children”
—-) Perhaps we should tell our children, “I really appreciate you”
Sometimes a simple word of encouragement can really change someone’s life……sometimes a good conversation over coffee can really brighten a friend’s day…..
which reminds me, its time for another coffee,