In my 31 years, I have experienced my share of “trials.” Since my 25th birthday alone, I have had 4 miscarriages, 2 c-sections with complications, thyroid problems, melanoma, and lost my job TWICE.
I learned a lot during those difficult times. Just to name a few…
1. Even when they don’t have anything nice to say, people still talk.
2. People love to hear bad news, but…
3. it ends there. They would much rather ignore your grief/problem than get personally involved in any way whatsoever
4. Self interest almost always trumps “doing the right thing”
5. People will downplay just about anything that isn’t happening to them
Last night our basement flooded. Well, part of it. Just the laundry room. In the grand scheme of things, it was small potatoes. I’m sure it will result in a decent bill, but it definitely wasn’t disastrous.
While I laid in bed, (not sleeping and jumping at every noise) I started thinking. I am
sort of ashamed to say this… but, I have always been very dismissive about flooded basements. It certainly has never been my intention to be unsympathetic, but I always kind of figured “It’s a basement. They flood.” It wasn’t a lack of compassion. It was a lack of perspective. Ok, It was both. Since it wasn’t happening to me, I didn’t have much of an opinion…or reason to care.
is was bliss.
When the water was rushing to every corner of the room, threatening to jump the threshold and enter the finished part of the basement, and I was surveying the impending, colossal damage, I kept thinking, “This is awful. Everything will be ruined. Cleaning this up will be a nightmare.” I then immediately felt many years worth of guilt for all the times I have dismissed “just a flooded basement.” Shame on me.
I am sure there has been a loooooong list of other things I have dismissed as well. I’m far from perfect.
Confession: While I have been very quick to judge people for their lack of empathy/compassion/kindness during various phases/periods in my life, I completely overlooked the times that I did THE.VERY.SAME.THING.
Ask yourself this. Have you ever made a statement ever that started with “It’s just…” -OR- made a statement along the lines of “It could be worse?” (i.e. It’s just a miscarriage. Just skin cancer.) I certainly have. (i.e. It’s just a flooded basement).
Ignorance isn’t bliss. Ignorance is ignorance.
Last night was eye opening for me. I am glad our laundry room flooded because ignorance can very easily become a way of life if
we never learn to see we are never shocked into seeing beyond our own noses.
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
I used to think that empathy came ONLY from shared experiences. It really doesn’t need to. Really, all we need to do is “Love Thy Neighbor.” If it is a big deal to someone/anyone, it is a big deal. Period. We need to look beyond our own noses, see past our own front doors, and get out of our own damn heads.
We council kids to “worry about yourself,” but I think we have taken that to an extreme. Maybe If we spent less time worrying about ourselves, we could think about others and help others a little more. I don’t know. Maybe this is just a sleep deprived, caffeine fueled rant about nothing in particular, but I am changed woman after my little flooding fiasco last night. From now on, I am making empathy and kindness a greater priority.
Words to live by, friends! 🙂