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New lesson learned-Compassion is taught through suffering.


So...nothing says loving like a viral infection combined with a healthy dose of strep throat. Jay-sus. The strep throat was misery, but the viral infection was horrendous. It destroyed me. I've been unable to even stand on my own two feet; breathing has been a struggle. Even sleep offered nothing but discomfort, agony.  After nearly a week I've recovered for the most part, but learned a lot from the event.

I'd never been that sick before. Not once, in my entire life. I'd thought that I knew what it was to be sick, but I didn't. I've been blessed, hale and hearty for my entire life. When I was sick, I mostly decided not to be sick anymore (sometimes with a healthy magical nudge), and that would be that. Having a cold is not being sick. The flu is just barely being sick.

I have a disabled son--still quite young, just 2and1/2-and I thought I was patient and gentle and understanding. Well. I suppose I was, just not enough. He can't speak yet, so communicates his needs the way full-on babies do. By yelling and crying. He cries so much, and we do all we can to soothe him, but without real communication there isn't always an answer. He may be constipated, he may have a sore's not just wet diapers and burping anymore. Without speech.... sometimes dude has to cry it out. I've felt bad for him, because I hate to see my boy in pain, but having run through all the possible soothing options, I just hold the boy and get back to business. What else can you do?

Now, I feel more than "bad" for him. I empathize, I feel compassion. I've been reduced to complete dependence on others for survival. I've been reduced to being trapped in a body that doesn't do a damn thing it's supposed to, including not hurting. I've been unable to Do. It sucked. Compassion is about more than acknowledging that someone is in pain. It involved feeling that pain with them-either through empathy or through memory. I'm about as empathic as a  sack of rocks, so it looks like this was the best way for me to experience this.

It's such a basic thing....I just never realized that I wasn't sympathetic to sick people. I tried to be, and made the right gestures-but I didn't empathize, and would find myself thinking that people where just being lazy...or whiny...basically judging them "weak". That in itself shouldn't be a pejorative term, but I realize it has been for me. I look down on weakness, and allow none for myself and little for others.

This is not good.

I know better than this. Weakness and strength are both temporary states, and we will all sway between the two a dozen times during our daily interactions with the world. They aren't moral qualities, just temporary states. I am the same entity during both states, as I am during any given series of states. However, in the past when I someone would complain about a little headache, or a sore this or that, it wouldn't slow me down for a minute.

I had all those things, and I just ignore them till they go away-if you weren't so weak willed, you would to.
......yeah, that's just messed up. But this is what I was thinking. This is the trap that strength sets for you-beware. Strength will make you an asshole if you aren't watching it closely. I've been physically and mentally strong most of my life. Worked hard at both. Now I find that I've built a prison of strength around myself, and half to learn to look at others without this foolishness pressing about me. It's not about being strong, it's about knowing when to be strong. Knowing what needs strength, and what needs delicacy, tenderness. Discernment.

Anyway, I suffered much this week, and now when I others in pain, I suffer with them. I would have helped them the same before...but somehow this is better. Not quite sure why yet, but it is.




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