Broken Hearts Hiding Behind Small Courtesies

It’s what you do, it’s what you say.

Please”and “thank you” are how we live in community with others.

Even when our world is crumbling and our hearts are breaking, we don’t toss these courtesies away.

You begin to realize that everyone has a tragedy, and that if he doesn’t, he will. You recognize how much is hidden beneath the small courtesies and civilities of everyday existence. Deep sorrow and traces of great loss run through everyone’s lives, and yet they let others step into the elevator first, wave them ahead in a line of traffic, smile and greet their children and inquire about their lives, and never let on for a second that they, too, have lain awake at night in longing and regret, that they, too, have cried until it seemed impossible that one person could hold so many tears, that they, too, keep a picture of someone locked in their heart and bring it out in quiet, solitary moments to caress and remember.

Roseanne Cash, Composed: A Memoir by Roseanne Cash

I remember walking down the grocery store aisle wondering if the face I smiled into was faking it like I was. I wondered if they were hiding behind pleasantries because they form a good shield.

I imagine, on some level, most were. Because nearly everyone has a secret wound.

And, like Cash said, if they haven’t yet, they will be.