Fighting a Great Battle

This post was written in March, 2014.

I’m on a bit of a kick about bad stuff lately, since that seems to be what I wake up to each morning. It’s interesting how the stuff you’re going through changes the lens through which you see the world.

One of the good things about my dad’s cancer diagnosis is that I feel gentler toward people. Every time I get off the phone with my dad or his wife I’ve received bad news. Sometimes it’s really awful (we didn’t get into the clinical trial we were hoping for) and sometimes just bad (he lost another three pounds) but either way I hang up the phone feeling oddly out of place in the world. It’s astonishing to look around and see the world functioning as it always has. It seems like something should be different. There should be some acknowledgment in the world at large that BAD THINGS ARE HAPPENING TO ME.

But there isn’t. And I can’t walk around oozing my angst over everyone so I smile and go through my day as though the edges of my life weren’t falling off and disappearing.

And then I realize that this is happening all around me. Every day, people get the news that they or a loved one are sick. Or dying. Or dead. Every day, people are wounded through divorce or betrayal. Or the more routine hurts – job loss, choices poorly made, words said in anger. All around are people whose worlds just got tilted a little, but you’d never know it. They smile and speak politely and hold the door for you at the library because we are civilized people, darn it.

I wish I could say this has changed my perspective entirely and that I don’t get irritated at other people’s stupidity because maybe they just found out they need a heart transplant, but it hasn’t. It has, however, made me more aware that there might be underlying reasons for people’s rudeness or seemingly unnecessary self awareness.

And that’s a start.

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