Editorial: I’ll stand by you, and you’ll stand by me

Editorial: I’ll stand by you, and you’ll stand by me

By Jessica Hendrix Brown • News-Journal Publisher • I walked into a meeting this week and as I sat down, the person beside me sneered and moved away as if I was rotten trash. It’s okay. I know it’s human nature to be a petty jerk sometimes and I try not to expect anyone to be anything more than human.

That night as I drive home from work in a car full of silence, I replay that interaction in my head. I don’t feel sad or angry, but I do feel a certain amount of vicarious embarrassment. I think back over the last few years and I pray that I’ve never done something like that to anyone. I hope I never made anyone feel like they were worthless.

Suddenly, my radio connects to my phone’s Bluetooth and a random song blasts through the speakers. 

“When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we’ll see

No, I won’t be afraid

Oh, I won’t be afraid”

But I’m just a regular person. And I am afraid. 

The song keeps playing. I keep driving home. 

“If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

Or the mountain should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry

No, I won’t shed a tear”

But I do.  The second the words float into my ears, I can’t stop that tear. 

For a moment, the weight of expectation and responsibility washes over me and I can’t help but wonder if I have what it takes to solve the problems ahead of me, behind me, to my left and to my right. I don’t want to let anyone down.

I wonder how many others feel the same way. 

I think about the people I see every week.  Elected officials, teachers, county and city staff, local business owners and everything in between. I think of the non stop barrage of life that just keeps coming towards us all. I wonder if they feel the same way.  I wonder if every so often, they feel very alone like me. 

“And darlin’, darlin’, stand by me

Oh, stand by me

Oh, stand now

Stand by me, stand by me”

I drive down Wallace McLean, a road that to me feels like home, and some of that weight is lifted. This road leads to my family. And I’m not alone at all. 

Whoever we are, whatever we look like, whether we’re the chairman of the board, the CEO of the company, the bus driver, the teacher, the guys in maintenance or the homeless man on the street, we all feel the pressure of judgment and criticism. And we’re also all guilty of adding to others’ burdens sometimes too. 

Whatever our differences are, I pray that God grants each of us the grace to treat each other with the dignity and respect that every member of this community deserves.  A little tact goes a long way. A little humility will go even further. I guess a lot of humility (and a lot of integrity) are what lead you to honor. 

We don’t have any control over the actions of anyone else, but we can master ourselves. 

Let none of us forget that there are real people on the other end of our phone calls, our social media comments, on the other side of that boardroom desk and that there are real people reading the words printed on pages just like this one.  People that are loved and respected by their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  People that are the pride of their parents and are the best of friends to their siblings. People that are immensely significant to those around them.

People that aren’t that different from us at all. 

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