Friday, October 18, 2013

Eyes Wide Open

     I met a man today with amputations from the knees down on both legs.  He was a perfectly lovely man who needed a little help with an ATM, and I was happy to oblige.  We chatted amicably for a few minutes, and then he drove his motorized chair out the door and into the sunlight leaving me to reflect.
     We often speak about pain tolerance.  Mine is pretty high, but when I hit it, it becomes an effort to maintain my composure.  I'm an actor though so, carry on, carry on.  Earlier this afternoon, I was thinking about how much my knees hurt.  Each step forward, I could hear the grinding; I know they're swollen, warm to the touch.  I could feel my threshold rushing up on me.
     We all have something, and for so many, it's much, much worse than I can even imagine. Please don't think I'm saying you should just soldier on and never complain. Oh no!  If raging against the dying of the light helps you get through a rough patch ... Rage, rage on.  Ask for help. Take pain pills. Seek alternative therapy.  Do whatever helps you through.  Life is too short to suffer.  But inevitably, as bad as you think yours is, there is always a darker side of the fence in your neighborhood.  It's not pity that we seek, but empathy and compassion.
     And the man I met this afternoon helped me to reflect on that.

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