22 April, 2009

Suffering of Others

While at a volunteer luncheon with many people who put far more hours than I do, I was listening to the hospital CEO awarding them. One fellow was his friend and a volunteer for 20 years. I don’t see him in the course of my volunteering, but began to wonder how these two came to be friends. The CEO/Dr is miles away from the volunteer in pay and stature. I also was wondering why his name was the same as the hospital name where my mom had to hire a private nurse to just to make sure I wasn’t inexplicably expired. That brought back a new set of memories. Never the less, when upon completion of the luncheon I ran into the volunteer pro in the washroom. Observing that he had some deficits, my heart suddenly went out to him. I said, Hi and asked him if the CEO was related to the other hospital. He told me they have no connection. In talking it became quickly obvious he is suffering from something, but I don’t sound all that great either. A simple bond. He told me he has early alzheimer's, while walking out. I thanked him for his service in a real show of heart felt appreciation. Spontaneously, I felt compelled to give him a hug, knowing every day must be difficult and trying. And, I felt lucky again, my concerns waned.

Difficulty is mostly a mental experience. If you enjoy what you are doing, even with serious physical ailments subside with the degree of happiness. It falls true with my speech, if I am rested and enjoy the dialogue my speech or helping others it is so much clearer. I look physically well and fit, but once I speak people often assume I am drunk or deaf. So, I have to get past their preconceptions just to order a coffee. It can be frustrating and often friends who are with me cannot believe that I say the right word, but some people can’t figure me out and my friends will blurt out, He said, so and so. This has been a great way to learn patience and acceptance of others, for me. I often laugh at myself, or practice several times before speaking out loud. But basically, we(me included) all say too much as a general rule, so we can’t expect to be great listeners. If you really listen you’ll realize the suffering of others… even in its minor forms of simple discomfort.

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