We have a neighbor who lives on our block. She has some health issues, physical and mental. Overall at this point she is stable and gets around on her own just fine. We have looked out after her since we moved in. If we notice certain behavior patterns/changes, we call her sister. Her younger sister is a wonderful soul. She brings our neighbor food, flowers and little things on a regular basis. Visits her. It has been humbling to watch. At times painful as it reminds me of what I do not have with my own sibling, in spite of trying to connect at those authentic, emotional levels. My family doesn’t do that. They are very in-the-head, individualistic types.
I recall in my early 20’s I was quite individualistic myself. That is until I began to experience episodes of panic. It got to the point where I couldn’t leave the house, for awhile my own bedroom. I tried all sorts of things at the time, both traditional and holistic. Talk about humbling. I began to see myself and others in a different way. For a time. Until I got the sucker under control by freeing myself of some things that no longer worked for me. Then I more or less fell back under the spell of individualism.
Then life happened again. And again. Cost of living skyrocketed, my income stagnated. Spouse got hit with health issues. Relationship troubles. I would find work only to have the company close up or my position no longer needed. Self-employment failures. Being forced to move twice within a year with a small child took a further toll. More health issues for my spouse.
I continued to quietly reel downwards on all levels.
As I was experiencing all of this I began to soften my view on people who struggle – especially those who struggle long-term and/or chronically. I had this old ridiculous family view that it’s ok to have problems – as long as they are temporary. You deserve help – but only temporarily. At a certain point, you aren’t worthy of help. On your own, sweetheart.
Interesting how life will lead us through hell to see our own dark thoughts.
I still struggle with panic and at this point I don’t know what to do about it. I have moments where I surrender it, moments where I fight it. I have a couple of chronic health issues – physical as well – that I do what I can on my own to treat. My insurance doesn’t cover anything alternative and mainstream medicine doesn’t recognize my issues.
Given all of this, I am now a pretty humble puppy. At least towards those who struggle long-term – or even short -term. I KNOW the pain with that.
Where I am not so much humble is my disgust towards those who have turned their backs on me – and others who struggle to live with chronic ailments in this individualistic system. I also am not so humble towards those who have financial means to help their family members needing help with treatment, living expenses and don’t. A friend of mine has chronic health ailments, pays a ridiculous amount of money in rent (because that’s what the system dictates) and often has to for-go certain treatment protocols and holistic doctor visits (again because mainstream docs do not treat or recognize her health issues) while having siblings who are healthy and very very much in the position to help pay for her treatments. It is an issue that goes right to my core. Going back 15 years or so I have prayed for and intended to be blessed with a financial fortune so that I could help people like my friend. Whatcha need? How much? Let me write you a check.
I have often thought that kind of wealth and financial abundance has ended up in the wrong hands for far too many.
It is unfortunate to say, but for some of us it takes getting kicked in the ass to remember our kindness. Our generosity. Removing us from judgment and into those states of unconditional Being.
So today when I have moments where I am feeling some bitterness and pain, wishing I had much more of a real support system, a real family I can count on unconditionally, I will see my neighbor’s sister pop over to check in on her big sissy. Arms full of food and as I said, flowers (such a beautiful gesture – simple but beautiful). And while it still pains me, I smile and give thanks. I give thanks to the sister and affirm our neighbor’s absolute divine gift to be treated this way (another belief I have had – the “i am not worthy” crap). At one time I told our neighbor’s sister how wonderful she was – how it was a beautiful gift to me to see her care for and show concern for her sister. For there have also been a few occasions when our neighbor more or less locked herself inside her home – police there – sister there as well, waiting, for a few hours, doing all she could to get her sister to just open the door, feeling helpless.
Throughout it all, our neighbor’s sister has hung in there with her. For decades, she has told me. Accepting her sister for who she is, where she is, meeting her at that place.
And who I continue to become myself.