Apparently, it's written on my forehead that I'm a good listener — or at least that it's time to tell me everything you would never tell anyone else. Lately, it seems that I know way too much about the heartache that everyone else is going through, and it's hurting me, too.
Sometimes I feel like I want to just take everyone's burdens away. Why is it fair that so many of my friends are struggling with things they should never have to struggle with? Why has my own family been through so much already, and now my mom is struggling to go through life without her dad? Why does it seem like things have to get really, really bad before they'll get good again?
But a talk with my dad over hot chocolates at the Cocoa Bean brought me back to my senses in a hurry. He told me he used to be like me, and since he's a high school counselor, he knows the actual name for it — codependency.
"You have got to stop worrying about everybody else," he said, "and you have got to stop worrying about what's going to happen in the future. Just remember — either it will or it won't."
As I finished my hot chocolate, I realized he was right, even though the whole "codependency" thing sounded way too technical for me (although that is what usually happens when I talk to my dad). I have to stop trying to help everybody else, even though that is what I've been doing since I became a big sister and was suddenly entrusted with the "responsibility of being a good example." I still need to help other people — but I can't take their problems along with my own. It's getting too hard to carry.
I'm happy that so many things are going right for me right now, and for my friends, even though I'm hurting for the trials they're facing. I'm happy that the snow is eventually going to melt, and eventually "this, too, shall pass." And most of all, I'm happy that my dad takes me out for hot chocolate and gives me life's lessons with wisdom and candor.
Either it will, or it won't. I can't be worried anymore.