Swans and icebergs

Do you ever realise when you walk past other people, or sit near them on the bus, that they are all hiding something?

Yesterday I got a positive letter. It told me that I had ‘no active inflammations’ on my brain or spinal cord. As I shared the news I felt anxiety; what if people think that’s all my problems over? What if they don’t understand when I talk about my current struggles with walking? I mean, if there’s no evidence now, what’s the problem?

As I pondered this I started thinking about those who have lost someone or something precious a long while ago. Do people still ask them how they are, or do they think the scars from that must have been healed by now?

I would venture to suggest that at least 90% of us are either serene swans paddling furiously, with everything going on beneath the surface, or icebergs, where most of what we are is not even visible.

We need to remember that every single day. Someone is smiling brightly but inside they’re aching. Someone else is answering ‘never better’ but sighing as they walk away. Don’t get me wrong, it is always good to expect happy responses from our friends and family but we’ve got to allow them to have struggles too.

Ask the question but really, truly consider the answer. If we’re all the walking wounded, then we need gentle understanding.

So, next time you shake your head about a gruff cashier or a snappy text, you have to remember that. Think about the swan and the iceberg. What is going on beneath the surface? The scars may not be new, the lesions may not be ‘active’ but sadly, they are still there.

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