What Will You Choose to Foster?

I wish I’d given more thought to this question at the beginning of each and every day of my life: What will I foster today?

This question has been on my mind a lot lately, mainly because of some recent well-publicized suicides. And the memories they stirred.

Josh Barro posits that perhaps the main thing we can do is

foster more hope and less despair among the people we know. People need to be reminded that they are loved and cherished and needed, and that other care what becomes of them and are here to support them in times of difficulty.

Yet I realize saying it is one thing; living it is quite another.

Perhaps it isn’t easier because life is hard and we’ll all caught up in our own struggles and adversities. It’s hard enough taking care of oneself; looking after someone else can seem a bit too much most of the time, particularly if that someone else doesn’t seem all that concerned about his or her own well-being.

Or perhaps it isn’t nearly as hard or demanding as we sometimes think. Indeed, perhaps it’s effortless, or nearly so — that is, when we sincerely care and when we’re genuinely willing to help.

Of all the double-edged swords I’ve encountered in life, caring may be the one with the sharpest edges. On the one hand, it’s invigorating and deeply satisfying. On the other, it can be the source of frustration and a sense of desperation and hopelessness. On the whole, however, I can’t imagine life without it. It’s what gives life meaning much of the time.

My caring self needs to be reminded that there are those who feel absolutely no love and do not feel cherished or worthy, not even in the slightest. Worse yet, they feel utterly and completely alone. If you’ve ever felt that way, you know how dangerous it can be. And how deep the suffering is. And how strong the urge to escape the suffering can be.

So what will I choose to foster today? And tomorrow?

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