Wise and compassionate words

My friend wrote an articulate and heartfelt response to the following:


‘You know what? No! Just no! I’m sick of this sentimental BS being shared around FB and people thinking it’s true. I have been through, and had many friends go through, serious life changes. I have had friends battling ongoing or chronic health problems and are just too physically weak to even handle the thought of a coffee (yes even with close friends). I’ve had friends that use every ounce of energy they have just to get through their day as they have serious challenges with their partner and/or kids (probably worse than you’re imagining cause they’re doing their best to try and keep it a secret too). I’ve had friends battling mental health issues where getting out of bed and getting dressed is a huge accomplishment for the day (again the stigma attached to that one only makes them want to hide it and if you haven’t been there then you just won’t get it so don’t even start to preach at them how they need to think positive etc). 
So screw this sentiment! If your friend doesn’t have time for you for 6 months, suck it up, cause the pain/hell they are going thru that they don’t even have the time/energy for their friends, is more than you’re going through by not seeing them. Rather than adding a guilt trip to their situation just msg them some encouragement and remind them you love them and are there if and when they need. Don’t take it personal, it isn’t about you and making it about you just makes it worse. 
So once again, just to make sure you really get this – no! Just no! This is crap.’

The above is full of compassion and empathy. I am still learning how to be assertive, and on occasion, have had the following happen. A text, asking when I may be free. If I am out each day, I will relay that in a couple of weeks my schedule shall be more open. I then receive more texts, which I don’t have the opportunity the read. This has been followed with emails and messages on Facebook. When I go in to see what I have to reply to, there are scores of messages, which I have neither the time nor energy to answer. I have offered by way of explanation, that my spine has deteriorated, I am in constant, merciless pain, and by the time I arrive home (after travelling up to four hours), all I can do is crawl into bed. I assure them that I shall be in touch in a week or so, and am looking forward to catching up. More messages ensue, (usually involving guilt trips, attempting to shame), at which point I am almost in tears. It is an energy drain at a time when you can’t afford to leak! I have racked my brain, trying to see when I have five minutes to make contact. It has inevitably seeped into precious rest time, or time when I had necessary things to do to keep my life running smoothly. I have found that it isn’t appreciated by these kinds of people. They demand another commitment before the present catch-up is over.

This happened to me regularly, and added to the load, when I was simply trying to get through the days. Every life has it’s seasons; a person’s days have delicious, empty space and then gets crammed with more activity and stress than one can handle. Kindness toward another is being accepting of it. I have long-standing friends whom I haven’t seen all year. When we do catch up, it is as though no time has passed. They don’t question my love for them, nor do I their’s. We both know that if we needed anything, we would move planets to support each other. My friend’s response to memes such as that above is filled with wisdom.

 

Gossip.

A man tried to kill me when I was fifteen. I am proud of the battle scars carved onto my body, due to the countless surgeries since that night. I endured much pain, and countless nightmares. I felt like the trauma had placed an indelible wedge between me and the people I knew. I didn’t crave sympathy, and pitying looks. Empathy was more to my liking. It comes from the soul, and says, ‘I can’t understand exactly where you’ve been, but I can try to put myself in your place, and treat you as I would like to be treated.’ Instead, gossip occurred. The peculiarity of humanity, wherein we glean enjoyment from other’s misfortune. The gossip and their compatriots are aboard a trawler ship, scanning the oceans of despair for a worthy subject. Hobbling into a local café soon after being released from hospital, never had I felt frailer or more exposed. The monster I’d encountered that bitter night was predictable. He was psychopathic and wanted to kill me. I hadn’t anticipated being destroyed all over again by the lady who taught me at Sunday school, the lady who cut my hair as a child, those I’d grown up with, who had nursed me on their lap’s. “I heard she has gone mad,” they whispered from their corner booth. “She’ll never be the same.” “Was he her boyfriend?” These people left me alone for three long years. I escaped into my schoolwork, and pretended that it didn’t hurt that they considered me an enigmatic pariah. I left my home town at eighteen, never to return. I refuse to indulge in gossip. Others should never be fodder, nor used to entertain our circle. If I learn of someone’s pain, I let them know that I empathise. Those folks were right. I wasn’t the same after all I endured. I was more sensitive, empathetic, kind and loving. I was better.