I have concluded that one of the sure things in life is that challenges, disappointments, heart aches and frustration will be experienced.
At times it is simply damn hard to maintain dignity and a state of decorum through it all. Staring into the abyss and confronting the demons that you thought you had left behind or never knew were following you can be ominous and just about insurmountable.
Other times you are confronted with physical, emotional or mental issues that are thrust upon you, not by choice or consequence, but by chance, happenstance or just a convergence of circumstances. They may also be situational.
I have always been amazed by those who seem to have the inherent ability to stride with ease through these constants of life. Some are even able to do so with grace.
I am not one of those people.
I have spent my life learning, unlearning and learning again the skills it takes to navigate the persistence of crisis AND I may spend the rest of my life in this cycle.
Before I sound too much the pessimist, let me take a learning that I have been processing and refining and share some new found perspective.
On the other side of a crisis is where I find perspective. As I enter and travel through life’s adversities the destination is always the same; the other side of the experience.
I may have felt chewed up and spit out by my personal crises. Yet in the wake, if I am still, if I can set aside my arrogance and reflect. I have gifts waiting for me. The gifts are as sure as the crisis it’s self. One gift is that of hind site.
Each of our life’s experiences are different. Some more traumatic, some more tragic others just have more.
Perspective from my own experiences shapes how I approach the next. But, it would be arrogant to think that my perspectives allow me to fully understand those of another. Understanding isn’t an entitlement, rather a fruit of labor, empathy.
I was taught this from a friend who pointed out that my life challenges have not been as great as others. She is right.
My crisis of emotion and of the soul, pale when compared to most other’s. I have lived mostly isolated from true adversity. Yet the experiences I have lived through are great to me. I am not sure how or if I could yoke the real depth of pain that others have felt.
I feel assured that I have not had to shoulder more than I could endure. Those that have had great challenges have far more fortitude than I and I admire those who have the strength to triumph over adversity.
On the other side of the crisis is where I also find empathy, another gift. I don’t have to experience all the pain of others to know that pain hurts, to know the pain they may feel is real and others hurt. Empathy is not to feel but is to have awareness and understand the emotion of others. Empathy is to have the ability to offer sincere re-assurance that the pain of others is real.
I have been presumptuous and arrogant that I know the pain that others have felt. I may not, I may not ever. But, I surely won’t if I take trying to understand others for granted. Life is for us to understand and not seek to be understood. If I fail to understand I am sure not to be understood. If I fail to understand I fail to learn what empathy is, I fail myself, I fail others.
Hind site gives me the perspective of the crisis. Perspective of what the crisis is about and why the crisis. I hope I learn how to maintain dignity through the next one. I hope to have the perspective that the crisis wasn’t as big, as great or insurmountable as it felt while in the fog of crisis.
Was the Crisis so huge, so great or so ominous? Well I am writing this today. The crisis was FOO, for the lack of a better description. Foo is something that maybe nothing or maybe imagined. I can look back and say it was not as huge, great or ominous as it felt, I am on the other side, I have hind site I see the crises were not as bad as I had felt them to be. It was a Foo Crisis.
What is real is the growth, the understanding and perspectives of and from the situation. I have lived through this, I will live through the next. I have respect and empathy for others, I want to listen and understand. I want to listen and learn from the next FOO CRISIS.
I had not yet experienced grief. True grief from the loss of a loved one. True grief from the loss of my true love. I am discovering that grief is something we don’t get over, but work through, and accept that it is now apart of us. It just seems or maybe I hope, the tides of grief may subside through time.
The friend referenced and who inspired this post later became my wife, Claire. We were married 5 years to the week after I originally wrote this. She was an amazing inspiration.
She was so wise. She moved through life and adversity with absolute grace. Its ironic, I now am going through one of the greatest challenges of my life, the grief I feel from her untimely death. She had experienced grief, and she once said it is hard to understand unless you have experienced it. Just as she had over 6 years ago, she is still teaching me life lessons today. Grief is another commonality we now share. Grief has given me NEW perspectives, new lessons and new empathy.