Thursday, 22 September 2011
ISLANDS AND BELLS
It seems our lives – or for that matter – our deaths, whenever they should arrive are not at all simply our own private business.
Of course John Donne said it much better with bells tolling for thee and me…but it’s a visceral observation at the moment. It’s lost all abstract quality.
A friend called me the other day and she was in shambles…sobbing her heart out. I had to get off the phone. I didn’t have the energy to comfort her over my situation. I was tired at the time and frustrated with the hospital and all the tests and I thought, “Hey. This isn’t about you.”
But it was about her. Of course it was. We’re friends. I’m her trusted confidant. And she lives over a thousand miles away – where she’s out of the loop and unable to see me, devastated and helpless to do thing-one.
I gave her a couple days to cry through it and pull herself together. And by the time I called back, I had real compassion for her pain. It has become real to me that we are part of a vast, intimately connected intricate network. We have no concept of how much we touch each others' lives...how every day, something forgotten, barely noticed, that we might have said or done will alter the life of someone else. It's a fractal world.
I’ve come to see this time, when I have to tell people my disturbing news, as an occasion when all of us have the right to be sad or upset. And I don’t deserve one iota more sympathy than any of the people who love me and are struggling to handle the shocking news.
So, I’m sending this to you all - If there’s anything I can do to help, you just name it.