Monday, May 26, 2014

The Kindness of Friends

A rather strange phenomenon happens when sudden catastrophic illness befalls one. Having been the recipient of one of these marvelous events (late stage cancer) and survived to tell the tale, my observations are thus:

Some of the people with whom you are closest seem the most distant - or the least comforting - while others in this category are the closest and most comforting. Acquaintances with whom you have had warm interactions but not intimate daily contact step forward with so much love and zeal to assist that it can take your labored breathe away and bring tears to your eyes. And the ones who get the booby prize seem like the type whose own lives are so fascinating that they can't take a moment to lean into yours and lend an energetic zap of love.

One of my dear friends who suffered through multiple life-threatening illnesses simultaneously - while being single and broke - noted that her only twenty something son did not show up very much to help with her care. I asked her if this was troublesome to her, and being the wise woman she is, said, "I simply noted it."

After all, who are we to judge what goes on in the minds and hearts of others as they watch us withering on the vine? Self-pity, a sense of being unloved, or alone, become the work of an inner demon because in reality, there is enough love and light in every heart to make it to the mountaintop, whether on a solo journey or accompanied by a whole team of climber friends. And it is up to each one of us to know that.

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