There is a Buddhist story about a woman whose child had died. She carried him around the village in her arms, asking everyone she saw if they had medicine to help heal her child. Everyone who saw her was horrified and a little concerned about her but didn’t know how to help. One person finally suggested that she go to the teacher at the center of the village. The teacher was Buddha.
He looked at her with compassion, noticing her grief. She was carrying her dead child with her everywhere she went, desperate for help. He said “Go to every house in this village and ask every person if they’ve ever suffered from grief. If no one who lives in the house has ever experienced a death, then take a mustard seed from them, and I will make a medicine for you from those seeds.”
She did just that and discovered very quickly that every single person in the village had experienced grief in one way or another through someone they know dying or a difficult situation happening to them. All had suffered loss of some sort. She was unable to obtain any mustard seeds but she was able to obtain the medicine she needed through this exercise. She was able to accept her loss, and understand that it was no greater than anyone else’s.
We are like this when we continuously carry our burdens and we present them to others all the time. We are like this when we identify with our wounds. When we describe ourselves as chronically ill or that our parents died when we were young or we are exiles from our homeland or we are victims of any sort having suffered from trauma, abuse, addiction. When we do this, we are expecting others to heal our wounds forgetting that they have similar ones, ones that cut just as deep and hurt just as much. We have all suffered loss and we all have brokenness. Recognizing that is the medicine.