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Good afternoon dear reader & welcome to my world again this week. I have been reflecting for some time now regarding the prolific growth in mental health issues we are now being exposed to. Perhaps this is because the media have taken a greater deal of interest in promoting the problems. Perhaps also the very high profile celebrities being recognized & having the courage to share the topic in an attempt to ameliorate & assist the very same people & experiences they have had.
Of the many which come to mind; Robin Williams could not overcome this dark hole which people like John Kirwan & Mike King speak about. However, an even more high profile example which comes to mind more recently is of Harry & Meghan, the Duke & Duchess of Sussex. They are certainly no strangers to the media. As part of the royal family, Harry & his brother have been lightning rods for global attention since their birth. This attention only increased after their mother, Princess Diana, died in a car accident while trying to get away from the paparazzi.
As an actress prior to becoming a princess, Meghan Markle was also no stranger to being the centre of attention, whether it was wanted or not. As a recent interview with British television channel ITV demonstrates, however, experience with being trapped in the public eye does not make it any easier to bear. The couple recently took a ten-day trip to Africa to work with several charities & check up on much of the work Harry’s mother began prior to her tragic death. They spoke excitedly about all the progress being made & the joy they felt in getting the chance to be part of it, but there were also candid moments of grief when the conversation veered toward their strained relationship with the media.
The most poignant was Meghan’s reply to anchor Tom Bradby’s question regarding how she was holding up after recently giving birth to the couple’s first child. The Duchess replied, “Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it is a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes. “Bradby followed up with “Would it be fair to say, not really OK, as in it is really been a struggle?” to which she simply responded yes.
The exchange was a fairly minor part of the larger documentary, but it has received quite a bit of attention, with the hashtag #WeLoveYouMeghan trending on Twitter & hundreds of thousands expressing their support for the princess.
And while we probably should not be surprised there would be an outpouring of love for such comments, the degree to which people genuinely seem to feel for the Duchess is worth noting. CNN‘s Kara Alaimo spoke for many when she called the interview “gut-wrenching.”
It is easy for any parent to sympathize with the trials which come from having a new-born in the house. Those relatively sleepless nights, constant demands on your time & attention, plus the way anyone else who has ever seen a baby can feel entitled to tell you how to better raise yours to make it an inescapably trying time, even though it is still worth every second.
What made the statement from the Duchess hit so hard, however, is the way they conveyed a sense of isolation & an unspoken cry for help. While none of us likely understand the pressures associated with being part of the royal family, most of us can probably think of a time when it felt like we were drowning while those around us watched on with relative disregard. To an extent, just being part of living in a world where everyone is dealing with their own problems & do not always have the time or energy to help with ours. We often make sure those cries for help never escape our lips because of some misguided sense of pride or the belief it would not matter even if we did certainly does not help either.
Oftentimes, though, it is the people we know well ~ friends, co-workers, neighbours ~ to whom are best equipped to assist. Sometimes, casual conversations can make the greatest impact on the life of another person. And simply taking the time to engage at a level beyond what is required for common courtesy can really stand out. 

Today, you are likely to encounter several people who, like Duchess Meghan, are hurting in ways not apparent unless you ask. For most of us, our natural inclination is to move on with our day, oblivious to their need. In so doing, we are likely to fit right in with the vast majority of those in our culture who will do the same.

Perhaps however, this tragic reality can open the door for the kind of redemptive conversations which carry eternal significance.

Typically, I suspect, even the hurting people around us are unaware of just how much they crave the sense of genuine concern & compassion which I feel should come naturally to many of us.

Just because it should come naturally does not mean it will, though, & it can take an intentional change in attitude & practice to do well, especially at the start. But if we are willing to open ourselves & model an empathy so attractive to the hurting people we encounter, we will make a dramatic impact on those we meet.

It has worked for many others I have seen in recent times. It can work for us as well.               
Will you do your part?

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson. With my best wishes for another week… I look forward to being with you all again soon.


Kenn Butler
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