I have been reading some posts that stuck with me for the past few days so it is time to write my thoughts. The Good Doc wrote one that took my breath. It was about suffering. It was about hopelessness. See the post here. https://doctorly.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/fly-fly-away/
No one knows truly what another is suffering with. The word suffer conjures up images of intense poverty and starvation for most. But everyone suffers with something. I am at loss for why. Many religious fanatics would say it is the will of God. But does that make sense when in the same breath they preach goodness and benevolence coming from this same entity. Why would a higher power want its “subjects” to suffer? I never have nor will I ever understand this.
Do we all have some form of suffering that challenges us? And who are we to judge the level and which is more wretched? Why is it we accept the level of suffering in some and not others? I could list the things in this world that outrage me and yet, that is about the extent of what I do about it, much like most folks.
And that is because I have to deal with my suffering and getting through life. And truly, that is about what it sums up to be. Getting through it all and making it to the next day. Believe me, my suffering is nothing in comparison to others, but that’s not the point. We all have a level of strife and frustration that is our suffering to deal with.
What makes suffering so miserable is that even though we all have it, none of us feel or deal with it the same. And you cannot truly understand or appreciate what another person is dealing with because being human comes with multiple variables. What you may be able to deal with, I cannot and vice versa.
When I read the post about the girl dying from Lupus, I felt a connection of suffering with her. I too know what it feels like to live with pain. I too know the frustration of losing the control of the body to something that will kill me eventually. However, my death is not imminent like hers.
I am not wheelchair ridden and I do respond to medication. However, the pharmacy still has not shipped it. Friday I was on the phone for two hours. I was put on hold and just left the phone on speaker. I must have out waited her because when she came back on she said they were shipping my drug and went through the whole procedure to set up the delivery. It was all a lie. She was just getting rid of me. This is my form of suffering because I spent a weekend of not being able to sleep more than a couple hours at a time because of the pain. Is it the same as the girl in the chair? Hell no, but it is my level of suffering.
So what is the point of this post? Although I do not understand suffering and I certainly do not tolerate people who lie to me, I have to live with both. And although it really rankles me, I have to move on.
When I read the post replies to the Doc’s story, I saw different levels of compassion. The Doctor herself has an extraordinary amount of compassion and empathy which is truly amazing. Other posts were not so empathetic. I think unless you have felt the constant and profound pain similar to what this woman in the chair feels, it is hard to imagine wanting to be released from it even if it means death.
So the answer to suffering is compassion. But not only compassion to others, but also to ourselves. I know many of my friends who silently suffer because that is what we do, especially women. We wear our suffering like a badge. “OH, I have so much to do, I am so fat, I have to take care of this person or that child” and so on. They are all valid levels of suffering.
What would happen if business were built on integrity and compassion? What would this world be like if we taught kids from the get-go what compassion is and why it is necessary? What if bullying was not a trend but treated like a plague. What if the government was really concerned about its population it serves and not about self-serving? The list is endless. And none of it is in our total control.
But self-compassion is. So for today, take care of yourself. I think if we did this more, that the compassion would naturally extend out to others. And if you know someone who is suffering, take a moment to just be present for them. That’s all it takes sometimes. Just be there. Listen, care and be compassionate.