Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it’s like to live inside somebody else’s skin. Frederick Buechner in “Wishful Thinking.”
Compassion is a wonderful thing. It helps us to be kind to others. It is a gift. To be able to understand what someone else is going through on a deep level can be enlightening.
There is also another side to compassion. One can feel the pain so deeply that they are too involved. We have to have the ability to know that although we understand we are not that person. Sometimes people who feel other’s pain very deeply are called “empaths.” Empaths often have trouble removing themselves from the situation. They become so involved that it may not help the other person and can be harmful to them. That is why Buechner calls it a “sometimes fatal capacity.”
This is one of those things for which we have to find balance. Compassion is needed for us to be loving people. But we do have to be able to discriminate between what is enough and what is too much? It can be a tricky thing to do.
There was a tremendous thunder storm in the middles of the night and I was awakened by a panicked dog. Ever since we rescued him him has been terrified of thunder, firecrackers and fireworks. This is an 58 pound Basset Hound. I can’t pick him up and he was cowering by the side of my bed. I leaned over far enough to rub him with my hand and he began to be settle some. I kept my hand there until it fell asleep at which point I switched and stretched my log over the side of the bed and rubbed him with my foot. He settled and stayed there until the storm subsided and then left. I awoke with my leg numb and tingling but happy that I was able to comfort him.
He, Crash, and my other dog Tillie give so much love and meaning to my life that I couldn’t survive without them. They know my mood and do whatever they can when I am down. They are excited when I am joyful and Tillie follows me from room to room keeping me always in her sight/scent.
I hope I never have to be without a dog. All the ones who I lived with have enriched my life in so many ways. I plan to always have such a loving companion. Who else loves so much?
I feel awful about not posting yesterday. I lost the day. The night before I had what I think was food poisoning. I was fine by morning but exhausted. I was feeling sorry for myself. Here without my husband and feeling miserable. Later that day one of my friends called and her sister’s husband caught the virus while traveling and died at 44 years old. His wife, working as a nurse, had damage from a tornado that struck their neighborhood. Her sister cannot have her husband transported home or have a glimpse of him. He died with none of his family around. There are so many people who have more crisis than anyone should have to bear. It certainly put my life into perspective.
Each of us has our own problems. Even though we can see catastrophic things happen to others the feelings we have are still valid. Our own problems bring forth emotions that we have to learn to deal with. We may not have things wrong that seem more devastating than others but our own tragedies are ours. We have to absorb the emotions. We have to deal with the issues. They are important. They are ours.
As each of us move through the things that cause us grief and pain we will learn things that we can use to help others when this is all over. Our experiences will help us gain new insights, new skills, and new ways to cope. We will have much to teach others. Lots to share with those who come after us.
This crisis is hard but we can learn from it and share what we have learned with generations that come.
“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”
We have to learn to bend like the reed. It bends one way and then another. Eventually it stands up straight again. When times of change force us to change ourselves we must become like those reeds and be flexible. When the crisis subsides there will be a new reality. We must adapt and thrive in the new environment. We have the strength. We just need the determination.
In my youth I envisioned the future as a wonderful place, Peace, flying cars, visiting space. That idea is gone. Have the changes made a better world or one more frightening, more dangerous, more ominous? My memories make it seem that way. When will we ever learn what really matters?
My past is a dream A memory A life of summer days Poodle skirts Bobby socks
We did Hide under desks With fear of A bomb And built Air raid shelters
That did not Dim our hope Our dreams Of a better world Free from fear
Time moved on Electronics, VHS, DVD’s Computers, internet Instant everything A better world?
Strange My memory world Seems happier Less fearful More hopeful
The better world Vision lost More war More sickness More hatred
I was not able to write last night. I was mentally and physically exhausted. It was a day to delete from memory.
It started out fine. I actually worked in the yard for a few hours. Took a shower, fixed lunch. It was then that I realized my husband was not all there. His conversation was totally disoriented. Having seen this once before I had an idea what was wrong. He is 82 and as we age if we get a urinary tract infection it can make us out of it. Sooo…I tried to get him to go with me to the local drop-in Dr. We have been there before with great success.
Unfortunately my sweet man had switched into Dr. Hyde. He had 4 insulin pens on his desk and was telling me they were wrong. He yelled at me when I tried to get him to go to the Dr. My son was at work and he can usually get him to listen but it didn’t work. I finally ended up calling EMS.
The two young men who came were really nice. They checked him over and agreed with me that UTI was the most likely culprit. They also felt that the drop-in doc would be great as we should stay away from the hospital with all the virus around. They also could not convince him to go. Then I had a AHA moment. He always listens to his primary physician and will do anything he says. His office was closed but I had him paged and he called back immediately. He told my husband to go with me….of course he listened to him and the paramedics went with me to get him in the car and off we went.
The Doc checked him out and he did have a UTI and now has the medicine and is even some better this morning.
Don’t want to relive yesterday but today is already better! YEA!
Ahhhhh! Today I worked in the garden. Just being in the fresh air and doing something ordinary gave me a new lease on life. Good physical work with my mind concentrated on the job. It really felt good.
I read the post today from https://fracturedfaithblog.com/2020/03/24/coronavirus-northern-ireland-3/ and learned that they are restricted in their outdoor time. I am so thankful that we can spend as much time outdoors as we want. Of course we are in a neighborhood with lots of room to move about without coming within yards of anyone else. I would really be stressed if I had to stay indoors. I feels such compassion for those in New York City who are also trapped….usually in very small apartments.
There are always people who are worse off than we are. Each of us has restrictions with this virus but each place is different. The only burdens we bear are the ones around us. I have talked before about not wanting other’s problems. This is a perfect example. As an older couple we are staying in except for food and medicine. Many do not have to restrict themselves so much. I don’t feel put upon because of this. It is our own cross to bear and we are grateful to have lived this long and pray for many more days.
I am sure that we all hope that these restrictions don’t last for a really long time. Most of us can live with a few weeks or more but months would be horrible.
Please take care, stay healthy, and from the nurse. WASH, WASH, WASH YOUR HANDS!
Today I have been watching “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman. This is an excellent program that discusses world wide ideas of the origins of our ideas about God. Any form, any religion.
In the one I just watched he talked about various peoples belief of “the apocalypse.” He mentioned that the original root of the word actually was not connected to a kind of catastrophe. Originally the word was quite different and I love the initial meaning and the ideas that it brings forth.
“Apocalypse” (ἀποκάλυψις) is a Greek word meaning “revelation”, “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling”. As a genre, apocalyptic literature details the authors’ visions of the end times as revealed by an angel or other heavenly messenger.”
For me apocalypse has always been seen as a negative word. One that brought forth ideas of the earth on fire, wars everywhere and horrible destruction. How interesting that a word that we connect with end times started out with such a different meaning. I am caught by the thought that it is an unveiling. It is a deeper understanding of things. A revelations of things that we have not been able to see. This does not seem at all negative to me but a seeking for universal truths. Unveiling answers that we struggle to understand.
I am glad to learn this new meaning. I also recommend this series. Take a look at it on Netflix.
We are going through a tough journey right now. Each day, each step forward is toward something new. Going back is not a option. Time doesn’t stop. It doesn’t reverse. It just moves forward and takes us with it. Look to the new day.
Take a deep breath. Look toward and new day a new beginning.