How to enjoy the beauty, the decadence, the very fiber of life, while at the same time reserving a part of your heart for those in this life who are enduring tragedy. I have several sources pouring into my psyche. A friend's family lost an infant son. A tiny impoverished nation is devastated by a 7.3 earthquake. And I took the kids to the aquarium.
This is the quest for balance. This is the struggle: to live up life without being blind to the pain, but not letting that pain consume us, halting the progress of our own lives. It is a balance I have not yet mastered.
What ends up happening for the most part is that I feel guilty as hell that my life is so good while these others have it so desperately tough. Though, when I consider the paths I have walked to end up here I also am reminded of my own pain along the way and I am comforted somehow by the inherent human condition of common suffering. What might the purpose be in forever chaining humans with suffering? My guess is this simple effect of suffering, empathy. Not pity. Pity is a dirty bitch. Empathy is a queen. Empathy is the ability to take on the yoke of someone else and really feel their burden.
There are some obstacles to empathy. Taking a side, as in religion, politics, sports or war interferes with the ability to walk a mile in someone's moccasins because when we align ourselves with a side, a team, we shut off the empathy switch. Ours is right, the rest can bite. There is also fear. Fear is an empathy blocker. But, as my father always told me, perfect love casts out fear. And that is what it's all boiling down to. Love.
And if love is your guide, you will know both empathy for the suffering and the joys of this beautiful, decadent life.
I wish you both.
(ok, so for all the splendor that the Seattle Aquarium holds, the very favorite part for my boys was this little tiny room with plastic whales. Plastic whales. there you go, folks. You can spend a hundred million dollars or you can spend ten.)
(radiant wifey, who does not support close up pics being taken of her)
(the beauty outweighs the pain and the pain outweighs the beauty)