Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pity

Many confuse empathy with pity. Most people aren't looking for pity, but a bit more understanding. I don't write my story for pity. There are few things more demeaning or annoying than the head tilt, painful look and my favorite, "How are you?" It's the look that gets me. The one that wonders how I got out of bed in the morning. Or it's the, "I'm sorry," we get when we say we have a child with disabilities. She isn't dead. We're good. We love her; not mourn her.

I don't claim to have it as rough as many others, but since they're not writing their stories I write what I know and that is all I can do. I've spent nine months with a family watching their 12 yr old die of leukemia. My child isn't dying, yet that mom had to switch churches because she couldn't be THAT mom. People avoided her or gave her that painful look of pity all the time. She had to separate herself. Many would look at my life, my painful moments and say it looks like a walk in the park compared to theirs. My daughter laughs, walks and kisses. I never tire of the kisses because they're not cheap. I waited... oh, how I waited. Sure, I pray for words, but I can't hang my hat there. We live for the moment because that moment may be all we have.

I write for understanding. I write for all those who haven't found their voice or don't know how to voice their pain. I write so you might have some understanding of our family. We live a different life, but we don't want people to be afraid of us. People fear what they don't know. They avoid things that are uncomfortable. I've walked around with a neon sign wondering how long people will stare from a distance. We attended a church for three years. Invited over a dozen families over for dinner with one return invite other than the pastor. I've never been in such crowded loneliness as churches over the past seven years. Everyone looks, but few touch. They want to love, but don't know how to. Is it intentional? No. I don't think so. It's just easier to not get involved. This is why I write.

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