By A.J. Blaylock
I write this for the young, old, and in between.
I write for anyone in a dark place, anyone hurting, anyone who can’t seem to figure it all out, or worse, anyone who cannot even find the will to care.
More specifically, this is for those who have reached the depth of anxiety and depression that leads one to ask the question: Who cares? Or the similar, yet more grave substitute, would anyone care if I were not here?
These are very grave and serious questions to ask, and for many the pain of asking it masks the clarity of the answer, yet here I’d like to analytically look at the matter.
So, let’s see who cares.
I’d like to begin by stating the most fundamental fact of my beliefs in this life, which is that God loves you. He created you and made you in his image, and he has been and will forever be right by your side. Every second of your life is before him, and he cares about each one of them. Not only that, He gave up his own Son to prove that he cares. He offers us unconditional love and forgiveness, even at the cost of His son, and He never ceases to pursue us. That said, even without the presence of other human beings, we may rest assured that every fiber of our being and every concern down to the most minute is before Him and he cares deeply about each one and loves us no matter what. However, I realize that everyone is not a Christian, and some do not associate with religion. Okay, then let’s look further, I believe we’ll find that there are plenty of others who care.
If you’re alive at all, then you were born, and if you were born, you were born to someone. Now, the fact that you were born to someone tells us first that they cared enough to follow through with their pregnancy and to bring you into the world. If you have and know the people who brought you into the world, then I can assure you that they care about your presence there. Of course, you may not have a good relationship with these people, that’s understandable, but even if your parents seem mean or indifferent toward you, there is likely a misunderstanding. Let’s say that your parents are overbearing and oppressive in their demands from you. They are likely not that way out of spite, but rather their constant demands of you and overwhelming desire to be “in your business” stem from the fact that they care more about you than either they or you are able to process. If anything, they could be accused of caring too much, but nonetheless, they do care. There are also parents on the opposite end of the spectrum, whose children feel as though their existence goes unnoticed by them. Now, I do not pretend to justify anyone’s actions, but no matter how little your parents seem to be involved, they are there, and though they may not know how to show their affection toward you, there is affection there. They may simply want to give you the freedom to be your own person, or maybe they simply don’t know what to do. Parents are people, and they are consequently imperfect. It’s perfectly okay, advisable even, to let them know how you feel so that they may build on it. But even if you can’t see it, they care, trust me.
What if you do not know those people? What if you are an orphan who either has or has not been adopted? Well, if you have been adopted, that means that someone cared about you so much that they were willing to take you in and to love you without the slightest obligation to do so. Not only that, they willfully sought you out and endured a grueling process of legal work and proving themselves fit just to have you. If your relationship with these people is now strained or you find them disagreeable, one must still realize that their very presence in your life stems from a wholehearted and selfless care for you individually, and if you still live with or are in contact with these people (or not), then they are obviously still care for you as much as they did when they first chose you. Even if you may not see that love and care, and though I may not know them or you personally, I promise that that love still exists for you in abundance. So, what if you were not or have not yet been adopted? I do not pretend to know your situation or the people involved, but if you have lived to a certain age, I find it quite likely that someone helped you get there. Whether in an orphanage or not, everyone has either directly or indirectly had someone intervene on their behalf in the world, someone to get them through their early formative years and provide basic, fundamental care.
Consequently, everyone has had someone that cared enough to get them to the point in their life that they are, and that sort of love and nurturing rarely, if ever, truly diminishes, meaning that all still have someone who care for them in the same deep way.
If you can’t believe that anyone cares for you in a parental or nurturing way, then what about friends that might care? Most people have at least one friend, and that answers the questions above with a resounding yes, someone does care about you and that’s the end of the matter. If you believe yourself friendless, really investigate what constitutes friendship and see if you can’t imagine a single person that you would consider your friend. Many people have a rather large number of friends, yet the ever-haunting prospect that those people who would be referred to as such do not like them as much as one thinks, and therefore they are written off as probably not real friends. In this case, the appropriate response would not be “I have no friends” but instead “My friends do not like me as much as I would ideally like.” This still reveals that you do have friends and that they do indeed care about you. If you find yourself thinking that they do not truly like you, then I encourage you to stop thinking this way. If they associate themselves with you in any sort of friendly way, then they either are or wish to be considered your friend, and even if they do not seek you out as much as you would like or act in way that reaffirms you, they care. They care enough to know you and to have acted in a way that would make you consider them your friend in the first place. Whoever it is that comes to your mind when I simply say the word “friend”, that person cares about you, likely more than you know or can imagine. If you only have that one person, then they are more than enough for you to believe that you are cared for.
Many of our darkest thoughts may be dispelled by looking at the beauty of what we have and not the vanity of the things we don’t.
I don’t pretend to know everyone or every situation, as there are obviously many variants to the human experience, but those listed above are some that I would consider likely.
Furthermore, I understand that to question whether anyone cares about you stems from deep sadness, confusion, or pain. I understand more than you may think, but I am also here to say that whoever you are and wherever you are reading this, someone cares about you. Someone loves you. I pray that all the argument and analysis that I’ve undertaken above helps you understand exactly how cared for you are and allows you to see clearly how easy it is to find people who care for you if you look closely. However, these matters are often connected more to the heart than the mind, so I ask that you take those words for what they are and simply look.
Look optimistically at those around you, those you know, your family, teachers, employers, anyone with whom you come into contact.
If you are reading this and aren’t struggling with these questions, you likely know someone who is. Give them a hug and show them that they are loved. Tell them even! It’s not taboo or weird to care. Such things rarely, almost never go unappreciated.
So, in answer to our earlier questions, many, many people care whether you know it or not, and yes, people would both notice and be devastated by your absence in their life. People you may not even know would be devastated without you around, so please, please, stay.
Hang out with a friend, go to dinner, sit on the couch with them and watch TV, I promise they’ll care if you don’t.
A.J. Blaylock is an English major with a minor in religion at the University of Southern Mississippi. He hopes to use his enjoyment of reading and writing to share his faith in Christ and uplift others in their own faith.