When was the last time you looked at a situation through someone else’s eyes?
We’re taught as children to have empathy for others in a situation more difficult than our own, but how many of us retain those lessons as we grow older? We get caught up in our own lives, our own little world, what’s happening on social media. It is very easy to get focused on what’s going on around us.
This has been on my mind as I recover from my seventh surgery in two years and four months. My world has consisted of doctors offices, hospitals, transitional care centers, physical therapy and home.
I know so many busy people who would think lying around reading or watching TV at home would be so great. But let me tell you, it’s not. I can’t focus enough to accomplish hardly anything because of the pain or other restrictions (like wearing a full leg cast as I am now).
People complain about the cold and I think how good it would feel to have fresh, clean crisp air on my face! Maybe not polar vortex cold, but I sure could handle 30-40 degrees.
At times I am bored out of my mind. The time creeps by slowly until that fateful day April 18, when hopefully my cast will come off and I can start one last round of physical therapy. And I am so tired of having to rely on my poor, dear, sweet husband who does everything for me (although I am very thankful I have him!).
In the meantime, I have been thinking how much better off I am than other people. There’s an end to my tunnel. It has been inconvenient, long, at times emotional and painful. But I always knew it would come to an end (even after the third surgery on the same knee).
How many others are so much worse off? A dear aunt is losing a year-long battle with breast cancer and I am thousands of miles away. My Aunt Sandi died a month or so ago, having spent her last days on an oxygen tank.
My dad doesn’t remember his grandchildren anymore, and I dread the day Alzheimer’s takes away his ability to remember me and my sisters.
I have had two friends in the last six months (both younger than me) who have suffered serious strokes and have had to learn to live their lives in new ways.
And I feel for the family of actor Luke Perry whose family had him torn away from them from a stroke at the too-young age of 52.
It makes me want to take better care of my health than ever before. To live each moment to the fullest. To do better at helping those less fortunate than me. To stop procrastinating and use my talents the way I am meant to do. I am actually looking forward to cleaning and organizing our house!
If we take the time to look, I am sure every one of us could find people who are so worse off than us. We need to not only take the time to look, but also figure out some way we could help.
Bring flowers to the infirm, volunteer to play music at a senior citizens home or spend time visiting with a resident who doesn’t get many (or any) visitors.
Volunteer for a nonprofit organization. Help out a neighbor. Babysit for a stressed-out couple who need an evening out. There are so many things you can do, least of all write a check.
Take time to look around and see what you can do, despite your busy schedule.
Everyone is busy. And you know what? You might be surprised to find out you enjoy what you do as much as the recipient, after all helping others feels good! In the words of Nike (and my mother), “Just do it.”