When I saw it the painting caught my eye…maybe out of empathy. I know the look in his eyes because I have felt it.
Even more interesting was the article it was heading, entitled On Self-Pity
The article had some very wise words that seemed to fly in the face of 'american individualism" and expecting everyone to 'pull themselves up by their own bootstraps'. Self-pite, especially our own is designed into the fabric of humanity:
"FAR FROM MEANING OUR OWN SUFFERING DOESN'T MATTER...it’s rather the case that all SUFFERING MATTERS and can unite the afflicted into a giant collective, who might – when they have time to look up from their own sorrows – FEEL PITY FOR ONE ANOTHER.
So next time you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself…go ahead and do it; it can make you a better human being.
More people need to learn this lesson lest we turn into a nation of sociopaths, which seems the way we are heading. And there you have it...pity for me, pity for those who have lost the feeling of pity, and pity for their potential victims.
h/t to Bilgrimage who knows this lesson well. His story could have turned into one of dysfunctional self-pity with all the suffering he must endure, but instead he is one of the most empathetic individuals and a prophet, a voice in the image of a Jerimiah, speaking for all the downtrodden and misuded and abused. Yes sometimes he would like to go hide away in a cave; and he is vunerable enough to admit it to those around him, giving us a chance to comfort him.
It's 5am and I've got a few songs, a few poems and a few posts rambling around in my brain. On my blog dashboard there is a "Quick Post" to just write something fast and send it off with all the preset formatting, even attachments...but I am stopped short, just for this moment by the big green PUBLISH button. The old adage "Publish of Perish" automatically comes to mind." If I don't publish something here within a reasonable amount of time there is a good probability (though there has always been some) that I may have "perished". Thoughts of mortality become like the tides...responding to the magnetic pull of the moon. But this moon takes more shapes...like the big green rectangle of the green Typepad publish button.
It's been a long time since I have been able to write. All the false steps, the fears of unintentionally leading another down a blind path, making more mistakes, ending up in a place where you have to throw it all in and say "well that didn't work out so well...what's next" have paralyzed my fingers literally as much as the Bell's Palsy has paralyzed my face.
A confession. I have always been a vain person about my looks. I have always looked 10-15 years younger than my age. I have been "blessed" with good genes in the anti-aging area; but irony always comes to the rescue to say...too bad your genes don't match...your face may look like 40, but your heart looks like it's 80.
But the thing that bothers me most about the Bell's is not that I look 'funny' or 'lopsided', but the fear that I will no longer have all those 'micro-expressions' that communicate to people things like love, care, sadness, amusement, sarcasm...
It's a taste, a small taste of what it feels like to be one of the people society, organizations (churches) have pushed so far to the margins that they become, if not invisible, at least not worth looking at because whatever they have to say has been deemed 'nonsensical'.
What life is for them is so far from what the "powers that be" is so incomprehensible that all the things that allow us to communicate as one human being to another, all the communicable commonness has been frozen out.
Pain, sadness, joy, grief...all the things that make us alike become incomprehensible. Not because they are not being communicated (which might be a problem for me), but because the other side has chosen to be blind to all the little things that work to bind us together.
Theologies, ideologies aside, if you cannot look into the face of another and SEE that they love, laugh, break, hurt, wound just like yourself...the only thing that has the power to bring walls down has already been tossed aside.
I always thought that Christ's words about THOSE WHO HAVE EYES and THOSE WHO HAVE EARS...were just sort of some Hebrew punctuation to drive a point home.
No...THOSE WORDS WERE THE TRUTH...the other words around them were just something speaking to a particular occasion.
Just the fear of losing the ability to be heard and seen is like a little death...and gives me some insight into the thousands of little deaths those on the margins are forced to endure everyday of their life.
Photo: Helsinki, Finland...just snapping architectual detail while walking knowing that the photo will always have more to say later
Not many people know what has been going on and why this blog, which I had such high hopes for, didn’t quite make it off the ground.
I have been blogging, but in other places…like “Mended Hearts Heart Disease Support” Community and “WomenHear Support Community” and a private posts to the Facebook walls of close friends…but I figured the stuff I am posting here is probably PRETTY BORING compared to REAL LIFE.
And as my blogger friend, Bill Lindsey at Bilgrimage, has taught me: real life is what changes life and matters most in the GREAT SCHEME of THINGS.
So here is my post from my WomenHeart Journal…and I will try to fill in the gaps of the life-changing events that have rocked my world in the last few weeks:
The right facial pain continues and the weakness and droopiness returned. They have done all the tests and there is no sign of stroke or tumor...but this is still disconcerting. A month ago I was celebrating successful eye surgery to remove the cataracts that formed early due to the use of so much prednisone for my rheumatoid arthritis. I could read without glasses and the all the colors that I didn't know I was missing I could see again. I have even taken out my photography equipment again and have restarted a favorite hobby.
The Bell's Palsy that started right around the time of my angioplasty they are pretty sure is was not caused by the eye surgeries or the heart problems. I have had the Herpes Simplex I since I was a chid and had cold sores for the first 40 years of my life. About 10 years ago they decided to vacate their normal lip breakout and, instead, breakout inside my nasal passages. They think the change was caused by the severe stress I was under losing my sister and mother and brother all within 5 years. It's an opportunistic infection and, similar to shingles, it usually picks a time when your body is down from other things to breakout.
They think it chose to breakout in my facial nerves (and maybe my sinus') due to all the trauma to my body and the stress of finding out that my long time vegetarianism, active life had led me into a sweet delusion of heart-disease free body and impending angioplasty and sten...compacted within a three hour span.
(I am only 55 years old…so it is classified as “premature onset heart-disease”).
Even though I knew, being an RN, that angio-catharizations are as common and more risk free than any previous time, the specters of the sudden deaths of my brother and sister and the long deterioration of my parents due to strokes and heart disease weighed on my mind.
I actively worked on a positive attitude; kept right on planning the future things like my trip to Finland to visit my daughter, putting a genuine Finnish Sauna (for a Finn-that is nirvana), restarting voice lessons, joining a community choir and restarting work on my songwriting, ontinuing to increase my physical activities and adding new ones oafter the surgery, cutting out the few things that have crept back into my diet that shouldn’t be there…I did everything they told me to do for a positive outcome...AND I HAVE A POSITIVE OUTCOME...
BUT this Bell's Palsy...the look of my face... and the MEMORY of the look of my father's face AFTER HIS STROKE, I know...it's an emotional and irrational reaction.
It's also messed up my NEW, PERFECT EYESIGHT that I was so thrilled with...my right eye either won't stop tearing or its too dry and the facial muscles that help it focus just aren't working properly....I can still read and see things without glasses, but it's work.
BUT TODAY a gift my father gave me returned to give me some extra assurance. I started playing the piano...something I have only done maybe once a month. It's SOLID PROOF TO ME THAT I HAVEN'T HAD A STROKE... everything from the neck down works properly.
I started playing through my Suzuki book 1 ...Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Lightly Row (I am a certified Suzuki Piano teacher) and into book 2-Bach Minuets, Schumann...
They feel like familiar friends who are telling me....it's going to be OK.
The Music is still here even if your face looks a little funny and your eyes aren't perfect at the moment; the music is still in your body
They say the Bell's resolves completely in 75% percent of cases, but being associated with the Herpes Virus may come and go.
So it's still one day at a time, even an hour at a time because the symptoms change that fast. The Prednisone and Valtrex and pain meds are helping.
Tomorrow I Am Singing In The Worship Ensemble At Church--a surprise to most people who thought I would still be recuperating - but music is my medicine, as much, if not more needed than anything the doctors have prescribed