“Until you dig deep you only know a small part of the human heart.” Another quote from “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built” By Alexander McCall Smith. His books about Botswana have much wisdom in them.
We can’t know everyone really well. It’s not possible. In most cases we don’t even try to. We only see the outside…the piece that people show to us. Too often we all are wearing masks and don’t want to let anyone in. It is difficult to get beyond the mask. Sometimes we can’t.
Sometimes there are people who drive us crazy…people who get on our last nerve. We can hardly bear to be around them. Then someone tells us that they spend all their time caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s. And lo! we realize that the person who seemed so awful to us was too stressed, anxious and tired to be nice.
We had to dig deep to find out what it is like where the heart lives. We have to be willing to be the caring person. We have to open ourselves to the idea that there may be something in their life to explain how they act.
I have met a lot of people in my life. Some of them I never wanted to see again. I may have been right about some but I also may have been wrong. I didn’t take the time to find out. I hope someone else did.
This morning the minister in our church began her sermon by saying “truth said in love hurts before it heals.” I agree with this statement but would like to add the word “uncomfortable or painful” before truth. Some truth is good to hear and is uplifting. Sometimes we need to hear things that we didn’t really want to hear. It is important that we hear them but it can really hurt.
In a small example I can remember my younger daughter saying to me “you should change your hairstyle. You are funkier than this…it doesn’t suit you.” Mildly painful to hear but of course it was absolutely true and I did what she said.
There are much more painful examples. I am sure that each of us have some. The truth, if it is said in love, can hurt. It may take time but I do believe that it will finally heal. We must take care with when and how we speak that truth. Sometimes the hearing would be too painful and would destroy a fragile ego. Discerning when to say something is critical. Hopefully only when it will actually help.
Our sense of self can be fragile and those who love us are the ones who mirror our value to us. Therefore it is important t continue to mirror goodness when we can and pain only when necessary.
Today for the first time in forever I feel a sense of accomplishment. I only have one more day of major work to get the vines out of the azaleas. There actually is a light at the end of the tunnel. Then I can get back to routine house and yard work. Seems appropriate since it is now August.
Some of my stressors have eased. My friend, whose husband died, is coping and I will keep close as she grieves. My friend, whose husband in hospitalized, is hanging on but the stress of this long term up and down has stretched her to her limit. Long term anxiety with no let up causes so many physical problems. Staying at an adrenaline high is not good for our body and after the stress is reduced it is a long time recouping. I worry about her and her own health.
She has little time for the things that can hold us together: time out, meditation, time with friends, a break day, or something fun. She is devoted to her husband and spends each morning at the hospital. By the time she leaves to go home (usually around 1 pm) she is exhausted and just wants to rest.
It would not be surprising to experience symptoms of PTSD when faced with unceasing stress. Each of us has struggled with anxiety and know the toll it can take.
I have tried to find things to help. We invite her to lunch often as she is too tired at night but she is usually tired and just wants to go home. I speak with her every day and have offered to take her place at the hospital. I would like to think of something to help break the monotony of her life and find something to help. I plan to take some art supplies to her as she likes to paint and draw.
If anyone has any suggestions please pass them on.
I am tired. I have realized that the tiredness is coming from the emotional roller coaster I have been on lately. When we have done physical work or completed a project we can be tired but it is a satisfying tired. It feels good. This is not that. This tired is totally enervating. It has drained me to my core.
When we are truly empathetic we experience the feelings and aura of those around us. Recently the strain that my friends have been under and the energy I have expended has taken all the oomph out of me. However I hope we are now on the upswing and that things are getting better.
Tomorrow I will be able to work in the yard. Although this is tiring it is the good kind of tired. It will produce a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. I have complained about the yard work but you can actually see the progress and that is something.
Lately I have taken little time for myself and I will address that in the coming week. I would like to see some “normal” but you never know when you will have to adjust to a “new normal.”
Finding things that bring us peace and calm are so important. Reading help me and just sitting on the porch and enjoying the outdoors. Each of us needs to find what can help when things get overwhelming. Not caring for ourselves will bring on anxiety, panic and depression. Not something we want to do.
This sums up what my last two week have been like. With one friend’s husband dying and helping with funeral plans etc and the other having to re-admit her husband to the hospital it has been a zoo. Yesterday I had a good day planned with early yard work, shower and if lucky a massage. Needless to say that went away quickly when after my shower I had to get back in the car and head to the hospital as surgery was planned. I got home at 7:30. They are wonderful loving friends and I will be there for them but I am feeling attacked.
I have learned in my life that there is nothing in the world that can replace good friends. Right now I am the one helping but at some time it will be the other way around and they will be there.
I grew up in an era when favors were paid back to the person you “owed.” If you couldn’t do something for them you felt guilty. This is not how life works. I have lived in many different places and helped others or they helped me. I couldn’t return the favor to them but payed it forward to someone else. This is how it should be. We should be ready to share ourselves when someone is in need. Moving forward someone else may do the sharing for us.
Life is too short to worry about who has helped who. (should that all be whom??) Whom cares!
Friendships are formed when we are willing to share… not only help but also ourselves. It is openness that people respond to. Value the friendships that you have. Good friends are a gift.
I don’t think we see ourselves correctly. Most of the time we see ourselves as flawed. We are flawed…that is true but we can also be beautiful. In fact, it is the flaws that make us what we are.
Those of us who struggle with some mental health issue see ourselves as even more flawed than that average person. We have to work harder to see the beauty. It is because at some point we have been set aside by others and viewed as less than.
In my life I have noticed that people who have never had a bad thing happen to them suffer real agony when something goes wrong. They have no coping skills. A bump in the road can devastate them. They have always seen themselves as managing really well. They can’t see that it is easy to do that when nothing goes wrong. These are the people who will see anyone with some physical or mental problem and say “poor John, he has problems.” It is seen as a fault in John’s makeup. Unless something changes this perception they will continue to see things from this viewpoint.
The sad part is they have little or no empathy. Empathy comes from suffering. Empathy comes from walking a path that is similar to someone else’s. We may not want to have issues in our lives but true beauty comes from them. The beauty of brokenness.
I have a vase in my house. It is very small not very exciting. My beloved friend bought it for me when we were in college. She is now gone. I accidentally knocked the vase off and broke it and I am not a good mender. However, the vase is beautiful to me. It has some flaws but they show the years that it has been with me.
Remember our chips and cracks have formed us. They have made us what we are and left us with much empathy. Don’t forget that! We are all beautiful!