i had a friend say to me recently, "i was hesitant to tell you about this struggle that i was having in my life, because compared to what you've been through, it's not really that big of a deal."
i very much appreciated her sensitivity, but saying this also made me sad. she deserves to be real and authentic. because, to her, whatever it was, was a big deal. and because i care about her, i care about what she cares about. i hate that somehow my loss has the potential to shut me out and create a barrier between myself and those i care about.
i realize, however, that i can be very hypocritical. on one hand i desire for my friends to be honest with me and continue to allow me in their lives, with all their worries, fears and problems, no matter what they are going through. because isn't that what being a friend means? standing with each other and doing life together all the way?
yet on the other hand my compassion bone is quite brittle and thin....when it comes to BS.
i'll give you an example. a couple in my support group who lost a baby to SIDS told a story about how one of their friends lost her cat and was an emotional, needy wreck. now sure, losing a pet is tough. (i said to john, just last night, "i don't know what i'll do when samson dies." samson is our cocker spaniel. we've had him two years. so losing him would surely not be the biggest catastrophe to ever happen in the world, but still sad. we love him.) it's just, unfortunately, after losing a child, we've gained a perspective that stretches our understanding of what depths of hell this life has to offer.
so i'm sorry. if your cat dies, you will not be receiving a sympathy card from me.
i'm sorry, you saying your "life is broken" because paul walker died, someone you only knew from a movie screen, will not illicit one single tear of sadness from me, for you. for his family and friends, yes. but not you. you're fine.
i'm not going to lie. when i hear someone say that the worst thing that ever happened in their life was when their 93 year old mother passed away, i'm envious. i wish that was the worst thing that ever happened to me - saying goodbye to someone who lived a long, lovely, rich, wonderful life. because isn't that the way death should be? it's natural. we expect it.
you would think that what i've been through would enlarge my capacity for compassion, make me more sympathetic, more loving, more grace-filled, but most of the time i just feel like an ugly, harsh, bitter bitch.
i have quite a bit of conflicting emotions, but here's what i know for sure: because i love, i celebrate when those i care about experience joy. because i love, i weep when those i care about are in pain. that has not changed. if anything, it's only gotten stronger, more robust, and carries a depth beyond understanding.
i simply know what truly matters: you. life. love. faith.
and grace. with myself when i let others down and with others who let me down.
and that's it, folks. it's not always pretty. but then again, life isn't always pretty.