I think we’ve all heard the term or have a concept of Hell On Earth. Do we really understand it? Perhaps our own perceptions and experiences and backgrounds color the meaning for us. I think some common ground lies before us, though.
The shooting in an elementary school in Connecticut. The hurricane that hit the Northeast. The tornadoes in Oklahoma. 9-11. Watching a loved one slowly, progressively succumb to death. Losing a child to death or abduction.
Losing a job and not being able to provide for one’s family. A loved one suffering through alcoholism or other substance. A marriage or relationship dissolving.
I think all of those might qualify as Hell On Earth. I’m willing to bet there are others I haven’t thought of.
But our experiences and backgrounds color and influence our thinking, our understanding when it comes to Hell On Earth.
Children mention their parents fighting. Children talk about being bullied, excluded, made fun of.
Is their “Hell” any less than an adult’s view of “Hell”?
I think not.
It is just as painful. Just as hurtful. Just as isolating. Their “Hell” causes self-doubt, causes a lack of self-worth, causes a lack of value as a human being, as a person.
I remember a sermon recently about Eternity and what that might ‘feel’ like. It was described like this: There is a mountain off in the distance. It is high and hard and seemingly insurmountable. A bird fills its beak with a bit of dirt from that mountain, flies off, and deposits that bit of dirt on the ground a distance away. The bird makes trip after trip, day after day, week and month and year after day, and week and month filling its beak with a bit of dirt and depositing it in the same spot. Eventually, after a long, long time – Eternity – the mountain disappears and a new mountain is formed. Eternity. At the very least, a very long time.
As a counselor and teacher and coach, I watched kids who hurt and suffer on a daily basis. My heart breaks as I remember their names, picture their faces. I know adults who live day after day suffering, worrying. Their Hell On Earth. Their Eternity.
We might not even be aware of who is suffering. We might not know what to do or how we can help someone who is suffering.
Perhaps listen. Perhaps be present with them, letting them know they aren’t alone. Supplying a shoulder to lean on. A welcoming touch. A smile. A hug. A gesture that tells the sufferer that “I understand.”
I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but sometimes just knowing that you’re not alone is enough to help get you through. And I think we’ve all been in a place where a hug, a smile, a shoulder to cry on or lean on was something we needed. Something we were thankful for.
Hell On Earth is a very tough, ugly place to find oneself. To have Hell On Earth for what seems to be Eternity . . .
As fellow human beings, I think we have an obligation to help, to pitch in. To listen. To be near. To somehow lessen the load, help bear the pain. After all, we’re in this together. And, we never know when we might find ourselves in our own Hell On Earth. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!