40. Compassion of a Broken Heart

HOW HAVE YOUR STRUGGLES HELPED YOU GROW WINGS OF COMPASSION?

BLOG 40: August, 1998—The summer rain came and went; the cars on the nearby New Jersey highway hummed incessantly; and the fast paced East Coast life continued as I lived with my parents in an effort to heal the pain in my hip.

I found work as an assistant editor and writer for an Irish magazine whose offices were down the road from us. I then lay on my parent’s couch as I wrote, because chairs were too painful. My father hated seeing me so weak and vulnerable, and would get angry at me for lying down so much and not having the strength or capacity to bike or walk. But I resisted doing what he assumed any 30-year-old should be able to do because too often, if I biked or walked more than a few blocks, my muscles would go into spasm, my right hip and groin would inflame, and I’d have sleepless nights with an overactive nervous system.

That was almost twenty years ago, when I wondered if I would even walk with ease again, as I tried every which way to heal, and hit wall upon wall, wondering why it had to be so hard. That was when, at times, I wished I could just end my life, since living with such disability and pain didn’t seem worth it. I had been like a wild horse, suddenly lame, longing to be put out of my misery.

Today, as I walk and help others heal, I watch my father in his elder years struggling with cancer, with multiple surgeries, and with pain in his left leg that at times seems too much for him to bear. I see him wondering at what point each surgery, each attempt to eliminate pain, is worth it, when he can’t walk like he used to or do what he loves.

A week ago, I was with my father and mother in Virginia, massaging my father’s legs from edema (water retention in his right leg), helping him prepare for his next surgery, his next battle against aging and debilitation. I was there being with the reality of his condition, grateful for the chance to share this time with him and my mother and be a gift of love.img_0910

That night I flew back home to New Mexico, I cried a deep grief, feeling the hopelessness and pain I had once lived and that now I see my father going through. The man who had earlier been so strong, angry, and lacking in compassion for the pain I had lived through, is now the same one feeling that pain for himself. And rather than be angry for what I didn’t receive then, I am grateful that my own limitations and journey broke my heart open to compassion and deep love. I can now be there for my parents, and we can share our love fully while there is time.

HOW HAVE YOUR STRUGGLES HELPED YOU GROW WINGS OF COMPASSION?

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, tells a story of compassion and love. Check it out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

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