That fit, beautiful blonde in the gym you see each day. That rather large man with ankles the size of your waist. The guy in a suit in front of you this morning at the coffee shop. The Dad taking his two kids to the zoo on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The group of teenagers glued to their phones, oblivious to the world around them. The woman reading the Success magazine on the ferry. Me. You. Our significant others. Our mentors and our best friends. We all got ‘em.
The scruffy man sitting on the curb looking for a handout. The middle aged woman with the little dog on her lap, rocking back and forth talking to herself. The young couple who couldn’t be out of their 20s, sharing the median taking turns holding their cardboard sign. What separates these people from me? We all have demons, we all have desires and dreams so why are they there and I’m walking past them in a warm coat and food in my belly?
When did they lose hope? What happened to them that put them in that spot where the only thing they can do is hope for another’s compassion and generosity?
What demons do they battle each day?
I truly believe we could trade places in an instant. I’m no better than them. I’m no more deserving of warmth than another human being. I no longer look down at them and shy from their gaze. We all have demons. But my curiosity wonders what they were like a decade ago, maybe a month ago.
The man driving the Audi R8. The woman, mid 30's, killer heels and piercing eyes. The older couple with the huge home on the water that we walk by during our evening strolls. That couple in the restaurant, sipping wine and enjoying anything on the menu. The man on the ferry, dressed to impress, rocking his $300 shoes.
How did they get so "lucky?" What did they do to achieve such "happiness?" Were they born with the finances to do whatever they pleased? And, where did you get those shoes?
I no longer judge the people I pass or interact with. Whether clad in rags or silk, I know we all have demons. I no more desire to be that millionaire than I do that “bum” on the street. Neither one has a demon bigger than the other. A demon is a demon. We all have to take up our sword and shield to battle that demon in front of us.
But what if we shared our battle without fear of judgment? What would happen if our good friend knew we were battling this demon, would they judge us? Would they shun us? What if they battled a similar demon in the past and knew some tricks that would help us? What if they drew their sword in our defense? How powerful could we be if we arrayed ourselves with warriors willing to battle alongside us. We in turn would pledge our sword to them in their battle.
Don’t mistake my belief, our battle never ends. That demon might be defeated by our efforts but another will inevitably take its place. Self doubt, depression, vanity, our past, perceived failures, negativity. Our demons wear ever changing faces.
But what if, just maybe, someone, you, or I, had the courage to share what demons we faced.
They wouldn't stand a chance!