I’m sorry, Sassy the Raccoon, for bursting out in laughter at your unfortunate predicament. I looked all over your enclosure for you, not to ogle, I promise, but to cheer you on and raise a paw of support! As a woman in my early fifties, I feel your pain.

I guess the Nature Center got tired of people asking where all your hair went, and why you keep fanning yourself and taking off your sweater when it’s thirty one degrees outside, and they just wanted to make people stop coming to them with their questions when they have bears and cougars lined up with complaints of their own. So they put up a sign for all the world to see.

Poor Sassy.

At first I thought her sign was rude (well, after I thought it was hilarious) but now Sassy’s sign has got me thinking that it might be a good thing for all person-kind. What if we all had little signs like Sassy’s floating in the air that followed us around, wherever we went, explaining to the world what we’re going through? It might make the world an easier place to understand.

Our female office mate, Cynthia, is short with others because she’s had it with lazy people at work and at home treating her like their clean up crew, expecting her to deal with their messes. 

Our male postman, Herb, will talk your ear off at the mailbox because he’s so lonely since his wife died that he dreads going home at night.

Our female neighbor, Betty Jo, complains to others behind your back about the state of your yard because no one asks her opinion of anything anymore.

Our politician is stunningly braggadocious because deep down he feels so utterly inadequate that he cannot even be loved other human beings without him paying them to do so or telling them exactly what he thinks they want to hear.   

Our male physician, Fred, is quiet today because his teenage daughter laughed at the way he wore his pants and then he noticed in the mirror that he was getting a bald spot on the back of his head.

(See Sassy! You’re not alone!)

As a minister to children, moms and dads occasionally come to talk with me about the signs that would float above their children.  Many times they speak in hushed tones about the hard thing their child is going through. They’re scared, worried, and embarrassed somehow that their child seems to be the only one struggling in this way.  I’ve felt this too, about each of my three, and I’m so thankful for people who’ve reminded me that I’m not alone. AT SOME POINT EVERY CHILD STRUGGLES! Every child struggles with something so much that they need help. And it’s the same for teens and adults, don’t you think? If your life (or your parenting life) is one big joy ride now, wait a few minutes. It’ll change.

That’s why I’m in love with Ian Maclaren. Well, I should say I’m in love with his quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I don’t really know the man, but his statement shows he understands life. He was a minister, so I’m sure he saw his share of the battles people face.

It’s so true. Everyone is dealing with some kind of battle. Life is hard and full of struggle, no matter who you are or what you believe. Even for Sassy. But lucky for her, she’s under vet care. What about the rest of us?

Prayer is good, and so are hands to hold and time to sit around the table with a mug of coffee or a glass of wine with people you trust, people who can listen and hear you- and sometimes be a conduit for the words God knows you need to hear. Counseling is a gift, too. I’m convinced that every person could benefit from it at some point in their life.

I’m so glad we have each other in this world. What sign floats above you today? Join me in speaking your sign to someone you trust today. Say what’s going on with you. Don’t keep it to yourself. Let God love you through others in your life.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to take off my sweater.