A Battle you know nothing about


"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about"

Perhaps you know this quote:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

There is a debate about the originator of it. A woman alive today named Wendy Mass took or is given credit for it. But, it is also credited to a man named Ian Maclaren, as well as Plato, John Watson, and Philo of Alexandria. Some things must stay true for the ages.

For we are all fighting battles - everywhere, and from long ago, and probably far into the future. No matter our income, our work status, our possessions, our health – our locale on this globe. We have forever and we will be –all fighting battles – children in Kenya fight battles and face obstacles, children in the United States fight battles and face obstacles for their futures. Some days, we cling to prayers with an ounce of strength, often in private.

It is surreal sometimes to receive words and photos of farmers and students in Kenya. I sit with my computer in a coffee shop, or in my home, or some other place in the United States, far from the farms and schools around Mama Ada’s own farm. Our partners in Kenya try their mighty best to communicate their neighbors’ stories.

This week we saw new photos of Noriega, a farmer who’s waged a valiant battle with alcohol addiction. As I looked at Noriega and one of his children, I was struck by the beauty of his farm and the joy of his smile. It was faith and hope, right there for all to see; he had fought and fights a valiant battle indeed.

Then, we learn about Ruth. She is a young woman in her second year of high school, or secondary school. She cares for her young sibilings, as her mother passed away this Spring; her mother had received seeds for her small farm a few weeks prior to her death. Her children also lost their father, when he passed away several years ago. And yet, her daughter’s smile is glorious. Ruth has set her eyes on a future of hope, as she wages battles in the present with a mighty courage.

I’m left wondering how we can imagine another’s life. How do we know and love those people right around us? Or in the coffee shop? Those we pass on the street or even our dearest friends or family. What are their days like, really like, as they fight battles, some we might not even know…..as we fight our own - some we know, some we cannot even name.

As we look to our left, and to our right, to the person next to us, or into our own eyes in the mirror…..to someone across the globe….let’s seek to be kind to one another and be kind to our own hearts. And let’s remember Noriega and Ruths’ smiles…..as they lead our battle cry to love.

- Julie Keller

The Mama Ada Foundation