Empathy

It’s been a very long while, hasn’t it?
In case you are wondering, I have thought about you all every day… and missed you. Time away from WordPress is surprisingly a little distressing for me. In time, all will be revealed and my absence explained a little bit. 😉

But for now…..

I wanted to share a Facebook memory with you. For those who don’t have Facebook, they like to remind us of posts from the past. In case we like them and cherish the reminder. Sometimes it’s bitter sweet, sometimes it’s just plain sweet, and yes… sometimes I think we have to swallow the little bit of bitterness that may threaten to well up at a particular memory.

THIS memory, for me, was a sweet one. It’s from four years ago. It’s sweet because I LOVE the reminder contained within.
The image I had shared is as follows :

Someone had commented on this picture and said that they ‘struggled with empathy because they just weren’t an empath at heart’.

I understand that… and still do. Not everyone is an empath ‘to the bone’. As I often point out, we are all different and it takes ‘all kinds to make the world go round’. How boring it would be if we were all the same.

However, UNDERSTANDING that is coupled with LOVE covers a whole lot of other things – it opens doors to kindness and gentleness and compassion etc. And it’s important! VERY important.

In fact, I feel like it is SO important that even if you are not an empath, and you recognise this, that it is something you should then at least TRY! You won’t get it right all the time. And sometimes it is really difficult. But trying takes you one step closer… and may make a big difference to the person in question.

I have an empathetic soul. There are still times where I struggle with understanding. I have learnt that sometimes I need to keep my ‘lack of understanding’ to myself, and still just be kind. Not because of the other person, but because of me. It develops good character. So I just keep trying 😉

I am hoping you are all well. Please know you have all been missed! Happy Sunday, everyone ❤

Getting busy living

I woke to screaming, and sat up in a daze. Then there’s a blank.
It was difficult to open my eyes – the vision in my right seemed blurred. The sky was above me, grey, and I am sure there was a light drizzle (but that may be because before all this happened it had been raining). My friend was next to me, saying “Hold on, Meg. The ambulance is coming. Please be okay.”
I remember that my chest hurt – it was really sore to breathe. I tried to take in my surroundings, but it was just too much effort.
I remember gasping out, in stammered breaths, “It hurts to breathe. I think I’m going to go to sleep.”
The next 24 hours were a haze – very brief moments of memory that can be recalled when I talk about it. The rest? Things that those who were there have told me.
I was wearing all my favourite clothing items that day – they cut them all of me.

I had been asleep, on the journey home after a weekend away with my friends, in the back of a truck (under the canopy). It was four days after my 18th birthday. The truck lost control on the icy road – I was later told that it was due to driver negligence – and hit rolled a few times, landing on the edge of a cliff. For whatever reason, even after the canopy had been flung off, I had remained in the truck bed and was only thrown out just before it came to a stop. (Thinking back now, if I had been thrown out earlier, maybe I would have been crushed and dead, instead of very much alive, as I am today?)
My body was broken, my face cut up, and I was bruised all over – and yet the mirror in my bag was in tact. It hadn’t even cracked!?!?

I was in hospital for 15 days, and brought home in an ambulance because I still couldn’t walk. I’ve healed well, other than the scar tissue and pain that comes with cold and rainy days – and yet I LOVE those type of days 😉
I had a long list of injuries, but the ones that matter for the purposes of what I am actually wanting to share on my blog today, were the injuries to my ‘arms’. I broke my right collarbone in two places, and my left wrist. This means that on top of everything else, I couldn’t use my arms.
Still bedridden and healing up, I became incredibly bored. My pile of unread books  were calling me, but I wasn’t able to hold them or turn pages. So my brother provided me with a bunch of movies, the next best thing. Much to my mothers horror, in this collection was the movie Shawshank Redemption. And I watched it at least twenty times.

It’s a difficult movie to watch – so much sadness and a bit of violence, and scenes that leave you feeling a little ill to your stomach. But buried in that movie are so many little inspirational things that it makes it very much worth watching, if you can tolerate and get through the rest.

Let me set the scene for those of you who haven’t watched the movie – and refresh the memory of those of you who have.

Andy (played by Tim Robbins) has been convicted of killing his wife and her lover. Surprisingly, he’s probably the only man who winds up in that prison who is actually innocent. It’s not easy, and he definitely suffers. One day, out in the yard, he’s having a conversation with a new ‘friend’ he has made, named Red – played by Morgan Freeman. They start talking about what they would do if they got out, and for a man who has been institutionalized for a very long time, it is no surprise that Red fears that he may not survive on the outside.

It’s Andy’s part of the conversation that made an impact on me though.
He describes how he may as well have pulled the trigger – that he had loved his wife so much and yet pushed her away, and that had ultimately caused her to be in a place that had caused her death. He talks about being caught in the path of a tornado, and how he didn’t expect the storm be lasting as long as it is.
And then he begins to talk about his dream : one day, when he gets out, he’s going to go down to Mexico and open a small hotel on the beach – the Mexicans say the Pacific has no memory. And that’s how he wants to live out the rest of his days – in a warm place with no memory.

Bearing in mind that Red is pretty much his only friend in those dark, dismal walls; you’d expect his response to be supportive. But sometimes our reality is just so dark that we can’t see any light – and when we do see a light in a tunnel it’s usually another train coming.

So Red tells him he has a silly pipe dream, and that Mexico is out there, and Andy is in here, and he should forget about it.

Andy’s response is :
”Yeah, right. That’s the way it is. It’s down there and I’m in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

And that’s the truth. We can either truly live life, or just wait to die.

Sometimes life is hard, and it can feel like we’re imprisoned by its harshness, circumstances and negativity. My country, my town, my immediate surroundings are in crisis at the moment. It scares and saddens me, because I have a passion for people and I see past how things are directly impacting ‘me and my kids’. I carry a weight for those around us too. It’s not a burden that debilitates, but it definitely causes crying in my heart and soul, and pushes a button inside me to ‘act’. I don’t quite know how to explain it, so I may take some heat for the way I’ve said it.

I often joke that I am a ‘Prisoner of Hope’. I still have dreams despite the reality. And something inside of me constantly lives in hope. I don’t know what the future holds, and I have no desire TO know.

I DO know that every morning that my children and I can wake up and face a new day, things are good. Every moment that we get to spend, breathing and living and laughing, things are great. And every opportunity that we are given to help others in whatever way possible to us at the time means that things are fantastic.

For me? That is getting busy living. It’s living my best life.
Pursuing my dreams, living in hope despite our realities, and making a positive difference and contribution in and to other people’s lives.   
And enjoying the simple things – laughter, a good book, cheesecake, coffee and rainy afternoons 😉

How do you ‘get busy living’?