Smiling…in the midst…..of L.

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Following the recent shocking news of yet another mass shooting in the USA, a completely unrelated post on a friend’s Facebook page today regarding the wearing of masks and my foray into work as a tour guide over the past year, I felt compelled to write this blog.

Once again varying media reports following up on the tragic slaying of 58 and injuring over 500 revelers at a Country and Western concert in Las Vegas, means we will all be having to guess which of the reports to believe. One thing is clear…..One man ended his own life having fired hundreds of rounds into a defenseless and unsuspecting crowd! It seems  those who know him well are totally shocked at what he had done…and have no explanation for his murdering ways! They thought they knew him….but they didn’t :-(

Which brings me to the Facebook post written by a woman who generally goes about her day with an infectious smile on her face, leading to others’ believing she ‘has it all together’ and ‘lives a golden life’. Yet her post was a brutally honest and transparent confession of what she was going through at that time…most of it being a huge challenge! She added to that a list of her fears, struggles and perceptions that were far from the ‘mask’ she presented of a smiling, beautiful, secure young woman!

And then there’s me………this ‘year old’ tour guide in a very nearly 62 year old body :-) As I pondered on the above 2 reports and looked back on my last couple of weeks of posting on Facebook, I realised my friends and followers (wanted to add fans…but thought that was overkill :-) ), probably have this impression that I too ‘live a golden life’, taking guests to exquisite places and having fun engaging with people from all over the world, as I show off my backyard to them all.

Don’t get me wrong….the above things really do ‘float my boat’ and I love what I’m doing the majority of the time. My disposition over the years has largely been a positive one and my smile (on the whole) is absolutely genuine…but the truth be told, it does at times, hide some major  ‘life scars’! As with probably everyone who has, is and still to walk this orb, I’ve had challenges….some really minor in the big scheme of things, some literally life threatening! But my smile may belie that fact. Recently a more senior guide asked me if I ‘smile in my sleep’ as he’s only ever seen me smile :-) My family and others who know me well have seen this smile is definitely not permanent!!

So what is the connection between the disturbed soul who had a hand in gunning down innocents in Vegas, the lady with the post about masks and my own situation. One glaring common denominator I see is Loneliness, with a capital L as used in the title of this blog! So many of us secretly carry our scars, unable to reveal them, for fear of being judged, ridiculed or even worse, rejected. So many walk around with smiles (or not) with others oblivious to the pain they are enduring. I’m not in any way condoning what Stephen Paddock carried out in Las Vegas but he was obviously, among other things, lonely!

I’d like to suggest that we seek for relationships where we can be authentic and know there is unconditional love towards us from others…but I also suggest we will find those relationships when we are prepared to offer the same to others. How much of a difference could there be to us as a race (humans I mean), if we had someone or ‘sometwo or more’ to share our triumphs and defeats with, knowing we are safe. I personally have a relationship with the one I follow in Jesus who I do confide with what’s in my heart, but my humanness cries out for others of my species who I can share these things with.

What about you….ever lonely?