Monday, September 22, 2008

Gifts and gratitude

I was talking with a friend of ours who has known H longer than I have. I surprised myself when I told her about the gifts that I am receiving as a result of H's illness and my time caring for him. I've certainly shared my grousing in this blog and so it makes sense that I'd share my gifts and gratitude as well.

Let's start with compassion. Before I met H (and even for awhile afterwards), I wasn't the most compassionate man. I wasn't mean or selfish, per se, but I was definitely not patient and compassionate when considering others' experience. Now, while I do get impatient with my situation with H, I find myself being way more sympathetic and patient with H and other people overall. Not just the disadvantaged or ill, but with everyone. In many ways, this experience has taught me to love in a way that I didn't expect: unconditionally.

Respect for mortality. Before H got sick I hadn't had much experience with people that I love getting ill, but in the past 10 years or so, I have seen what it means to be in poor health. As a result, I convinced myself to stop smoking some years ago. And most importantly, I feel deep gratitude for my good health pretty much every day and I try to do the right thing. And I realize just how precious good health is.

Slowing down. In my work, we are racing constantly…racing with the market, with other groups in the company, with our peers; fast paced doesn't cover it. But when you need to patiently explain the same thing over and over again, it helps to have patience…to gear yourself to the other's pace. While I can't claim that I've nailed this one yet, it does me no good to be impatient with H and I'm finding that it just makes life more stressful to be impatient all of the time.

Forgiveness. Can't say that I've got this one nailed down either. But I can say that I at least understand how important it is: not forgiving others just gets in the way of me loving them. And not forgiving myself just keeps me stuck in regret and pain.

Would I want to repeat this experience? No! Please, no!

But what is it worth to learn how to love unconditionally, to respect our health and bodies, to slow down, to forgive, and to be grateful?

2 comments:

Sorata said...

There is indeed a positive and negative way to interpret a same situation, and sometimes it's this type of thinking that keep us from going insane.

You should really give yourself more credits than you have.

*big hug*

ChickPea said...

"What is it worth" ? - How can this be answered ? Can we measure out "worth" by putting jellybeans or gold bars on the other side of the scale ?
Having gained these insights, more precious than gold - yea - than much fine gold - how can we lay them aside ? Maybe too heavy to handle, maybe too hard to look at except occasionally - but now a part of your very being, your Essential Self, of You/Yourself.
Yes, ASM, you drink from a most challenging, most demanding, most painful chalice. The taste sounds most definitely bitter, at times. The constant drain on your many energies must be incalculable.
However, I have no doubt at all but that You/Essence of You/Your Very Self is as Fine, Valuable and Beautiful a thing as could ever be imagined. Somehow you need ways to connect with that, and nurture that. Love Yourself, friend. Really Love - and Care - for yourself too. Only THEN will you fully trust yourself and the decisions you make. And you deserve such care, such love. The H you first knew, and first loved, would want that for you. And maybe the H of Now wants you to feel this love and care too.
Your blog is a deep pool, NSM. I have drunk here, and leave refreshed. I pray that you too may find here the strength you need.
Thank you for being You, and for sharing your gift of 'You-ness'.