I’m astoundingly and endlessly fascinated on why and how we grow up together, face the same national and international crises, yet see it all quite differently. Any parent will tell you that even identical twins are quite different in personality.
While I am perfectly unique, as you are, we share some attributes, therefore, given that there are over seven BILLION of us, nobody probably has any attribute or notion that is singular to only them. Meaning we can all relate to somebody else about something.
Facebook is an perfect vehicle for looking at this phenomenon. Some people use it only to keep in touch with family and close friends. Some use it for business. Some use it as a voice for their beliefs. Some share everything including the kitchen sink with everyone, some with only some, some share very little that is personal. All have the absolute right to do as it suits them, and nobody has any business being critical of their choices.
Keep that last point firmly in mind. I am NOT criticizing anyone. I am not judging anyone. If anything I point to my own perceived flawed personality which makes me react differently that others do under similar circumstances. I do that because if I feel that way, undoubtedly others do too, and I wish to let them know that it is not wrong, just different. For there are no wrongs or rights here, just idiosyncrasies which we all have and in some cases share with others.
I refer to the issue of sharing life’s downsides with others, people perhaps that you have never had a face-to-face conversation. Now first I don’t want to make much of the face-to-face thing, since there are relationships that have been forged which are deep and abiding although the respective parties had not met. I use the phrase to mean more specifically, people whom you know on Facebook, but don’t really know, if you get my drift. You share something in common but that’s about it. You talk about THAT thing, but not about much else.
As far as I know, no one in my family is ill with any “serious” disease. Serious these days is relative since people are learning to live quite long and productive lives with a lot of things we thought of as fatal thirty years ago. But on Facebook, I know quite a number of folks who are battling serious debilitating illness and they talk openly and frankly about their struggles.
I’m always taken aback when I first read these accounts of “I just got diagnosed,” or “I got bad news with my test results,” because I would NEVER disclose such to hardly anyone. Seriously I wouldn’t likely have told my parents when they were still alive. Other than my husband, I doubt I would tell anyone at all.
First of all I don’t believe in a God that “answers prayers” in the sense of changing an otherwise outcome. If God operates that way then God is cruel to some very deserving people I have known. I believe that prayer is my way of communicating with God, but I don’t believe God changes outcomes because a prayer ‘touches” Him where another doesn’t. I believe that knowing that people care enough to do that for you is helpful because good emotional response to disease is helpful to treatment, but that’s the line I draw in the matter.
So proffers of prayers just comes to me as “gosh I’m sorry” and “boy I’m counting my blessings again”. In other words, I hear pity, because I am now separated from the herd of okay people and plunked in the “sick” group. Clearly I’m wrong in this, but it’s how I react.
Second, unlike a lot of really good people I know, I have people who detest me. I often say things knowing that I will anger, offend and piss people off. I do it because it seems right to point out bigotry, ignorance and willful lack of concern to people who need to know that they are not escaping notice. I admire people who are beloved by everyone, they are essential to the world, but I am not one of them. I have “enemies”, and nothing would please them more than to tsk-tsk my misfortune as “finally getting what I deserved”. I am reminded often by fundamentalists that the price of my stubborn resistance to their “right way to live” will be eternal damnation, a prospect they enjoy thinking about, since they always smile when they say it.
I will not announce my illness simple because I will not give them the satisfaction.
I will share with you that I suffer from the “what might happen” syndrome to a far greater degree than is healthy or normal in my opinion. I am well aware that it’s silly and stupid and a waste of time, yet I struggle none the less, and I am blessed with a husband who helps prod me off dead center to get moving to address my fears and get the verdict. So far, it’s always been thumbs up, which makes me feel like a horse’s ass in the end, but doesn’t do much to cause me let it go the next time. I can dream up more bad outcomes than Carter had liver pills as they say.
Which all means exactly nothing much I guess. I am not ill. In fact, (a post I’ll be doing in the next week or so) my travels through the health system has turned out quite well indeed, if annoying at times.
Which might lead you to conclude that you can’t trust my professed happiness much of the time. Actually you can. When I’m not happy I tend to just not mention happiness. And it’s doesn’t mean I’ll never tell you about it. But it will be after the fact, when I have a perspective from which to offer hopefully something that might help somebody in similar circumstances. I wish I could be like you, and accept the tender embraces of friends near and far, but I cannot, and in I guess I’m pretty okay with that. Whether I am or not, it is what it is.
Which means that when you talk about your illness or loss, I do commiserate and I do empathize and most of all I appreciate your strength of character. You become my role model I guess. I have been in awe of the grace that so many of you show in battling these detours in life.
Aren’t we all just amazingly weird when you get right down to it?