A Softening

Sometimes I really think hard about myself and who I am as a person. I have this tendency to devalue all of the goodness in my life, because I’ve dealt with physical suffering for so long. It all can get very mixed together, the physical and the emotional, the pain that pervades our bodies and our psyches.

I don’t believe that I want to be ill, or that my health issues descended upon me from G-d as punishment.

Occasionally, I do wonder if all of us suffer in a variety of ways, in part to learn from these experiences, and to become better people. Or maybe it becomes less of a curse if there is personal evolution that comes to us, despite the suffering.

It’s funny how in certain ways we can be extremely confident, while feeling like failures in other ways.

Because I was quite ill growing up, and my brother died when he was 16, and I was 21, I’ve been the center of attention in my parents lives.

We’ve definitely had our issues, and our relationships were twisted and tangled in the past. No matter how angry we’ve been at each other, or how frustrated, I’ve always known that they love me, and would never give up on me.

Even when I was severely depressed and engaging in frequent suicide attempts, they stood by me.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but there is a part of me that has been blind to the reality that not everyone has parents, or a spouse, or a sibling that they can turn to in times of trouble and sorrow.

I could tear myself up over my lack of insight, and insensitivity, but I’ve done that enough in my lifetime, and it’s never gotten me anywhere. At least not anywhere that I want to be.

When I see people who can run regularly, who enjoy active lifestyles, who don’t deal with illness aside from the occasional cold, or flu, I’ve tended to feel like they don’t know what true suffering is like.

I know that isn’t fair, and that none of us can begin to imagine what another’s life and feelings are. None of us can get inside of another beings heart and body, and see what’s been endured.

I feel that all of us struggle in different ways. Often I wish that my fight wasn’t with a chronic illness. But, if it wasn’t that, I’m sure it would be something else.

There is great beauty and joy available to us as human beings. There is also tremendous grief and sorrow.

The next time I see a fit and healthy looking young woman running by me seemingly effortlessly, with an incredible body, and barely out of breath, I will do my best not to grimace with jealously. Or to judge her, and imagine that she is living the easy life.

Perhaps if we were all able as human beings to understand how much suffering exists from person to person, from community to community, from country to country, we’d be a little kinder to each other. At least occasionally.

1 Comment

  1. You’re on to something. I’ve also been in a similar state lately. My physical health issues have become a total pain in the ass (more than normal), and its starting to affect how I look at everything. I’m grateful I have my 12 step sponsor, who constantly reminds me to be grateful for what I do have going right.

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