I’ve heard from friends this week I haven’t talked to in months. They burble to the surface with gentle caring about how I’m doing, many of them not knowing that I was going through pain or considering surgery. Then they sheepishly say they were sorry not to be in touch sooner, not to bring soup, not to visit, but life is full. Which is when I hear of what is happening in their lives – the illness, the sick parent, the decision to move, the search for work, the relationship worry, the child who seems off track.
Living with a therapist, I hear about a lot of other people’s lives. He’s good – to his patients and to me, only providing broad, sweeping outlines. I get the vista of pain, never every craggy detail. But it’s enough to know that there are a lot of people out there in major psychic and physical discomfort. Enough to remind me that that what’s happening in my own cup-de-sac is just a variation.
I love the saying “the full catastrophe,” adopted so well by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It reminds me of another saying – “the whole enchilada.” You can sequester inward with books and quiet, but life will probably find you hiding out in the corner and pour on some extra hot sauce, another heap of beans. Try to keep seeing the dolphins on the horizon – like Zorba. Enjoy the hot sauce. Percolate in life’s messiness. It’s over very quickly.
And keep sending love to other beings, looking them in the eyes and remembering that there is likely much going on with them at which you can only wonder.