Sunday Post 12: Pretty on the Outside

Posted by Danny

I recently learned of an acquaintance who committed suicide and it brought to mind something that I’ve discovered over the past year:  people are hurting.

I didn’t really know that before. 

It may be that I’m more aware due to my own intense pain.  Or maybe folks are more willing to share their hardships with me because they think I might better understand having experienced dispair myself.  Perhaps I just care more than I ever did before.  But I am much more conscious of the fact that what I see on the outside may not mirror what’s on the inside.

I’ll have to admit that I spent the first forty-four years of my life in a bubble.  I had no comprehension of grief.  I did not understand someone’s inability to control their thoughts or feelings.  I didn’t understand how it felt to really be down.  My general attitude was “Suck it up!  I have.” 

The problem with my former point of view was that I hadn’t “sucked it up” – primarily because I didn’t have anything to suck up.  But you couldn’t have convinced me of that two years ago.  To me my teeny problems were equivalent to the loss of a job, or fighting ongoing depression or a serious illness.

Someone told me not long after Lisa died that I would become resentful of the world around me that had seemingly just gone on even in the wake of my devastation.  I remember going to Subway a week after Lisa died to grab lunch.  As I was walking up to the doors, a couple was in front of me talking and laughing like it was a normal, sunny, early spring day.  But it wasn’t.  It was a sad, gray, crappy day.  A day where I’d struggled to get out of bed.  A day where I’d cried all the way to the Subway.  A day where I was holding back tears as I watched them grin their hideous little smiles. 

I wanted to smack the hell out of them.

But in time, I became more aware.  I think I listened more to what others were dealing with.  I prayed harder for those I knew in turmoil.  My heart broke more deeply for people who were going through pain. 

After experiencing what I’d describe as an “almost” anxiety attack three days before Lisa died, I had a better understanding of a mind that was racing out of control.  I imagine that a difficult thing to live with on a regular basis.

So no, don’t just suck it up.  Talk it out.  Seek a friend.  Go get counseling.  Come visit the Tanners for a few days!  We’ll either cheer you up or you may leave thinking you have it pretty good!

And for those who do have that perfect life, show some compassion.  Cook up some patience.  Realize that every person you come in contact with could be struggling to the core of their being – even if they look real pretty on the outside.

Leave a comment


  1. Susan R.

     /  April 3, 2011

    Excellent post.

  2. Homestead Ramblings

     /  April 3, 2011

    Well said, dear sir, well said.

  3. Marian

     /  April 3, 2011


  4. Dave K

     /  April 3, 2011


  5. Helen LaVere

     /  April 3, 2011

    Words to live by! Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Well written. I am one of those who “sucked it up”. Being a “man” about it all. When inside you are a shattered mirror! Trying to hold all the pieces in place while reaching for those you have dropped. Some know, most don’t. They ask, how you doing? Do they really care? Do they really want to know? They want to hear “okay”. I say I am hanging on, hanging in there. They say good good. Problem is I shouldn’t be HANGING in the first place. They don’t get it! Life goes on.

  7. Aunt Susan

     /  April 3, 2011

    one of your best, ever!

  8. Love this post! Thanks for sharing!

  9. April (Calvin) Poole

     /  April 3, 2011

    Yes, Bruce, you have said it very well.

  10. Patty Thomson

     /  April 4, 2011

    very well said. I get a little angry at times when people don’t react as I think they should. For that I apologize to any I have offended. I admit that I would rather look on the sunny side. Wayne is my antidote for all bad things. I scream and slam doors and then usually I am my old cheery self. That is me. Sunday was an uplifting day with the childrens service. many of whom I have taught my silly songs to. Several times when somone asked me how I was, I wanted to scream “Oh, wonderful. I have a brain fart that I don’t know what they are going to do about”, but instead I said with a smile, “Just fine thank you”. See, I am not any different and you just pointed that out to me. we all have our weaknesses, we all have our trials, we all have our coping skills and sometimes we even use them. I am grateful that I have a God that I can tell anything to and He hears me most of the time. when He does not, it is because I have been a “total fart” and have turned Him off when He said something I did not like. you my dear friend are becoming a very wise man!! and I love you very much.

  11. Francie Reding

     /  April 4, 2011


  12. Wren

     /  April 13, 2011

    This entry blessed me so much. Honest, real & inspiring. You get it. God has given you an opportunity with a life changing experience and your life perspective will never be the same. That’s a gift! You’ve never really lived until you’ve grieved. As we prepare our hearts for Easter, the gift of eternal life looms large…
    Love to you,

  13. “…show some compassion.” Always, people should have compassion for others.

    This is a beautifully touching post.


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