Sometimes these posts start as one thing in my head and wind into something completely different by the time they make it to the printed page.
I have been pleasantly and not-so-pleasantly surprised as well as intrigued by the various reactions of people to my ongoing injury. Some have been super supportive. Folks I haven't seen in months have reached out. Those I might have least expected have offered help...to grocery shop, or bring me food, or to drive me places. Some call me to check in, knowing I am lonely sitting at home doing nothing. Others have been noticeably absent, or had difficulty expressing empathy, or sympathy. There have been those who seem rather impatient with, or intolerant of, my slow recovery. When I get those less supportive reactions, I feel angry. But really what I think is that I am hurt. I even commented to someone that you learn a lot about people in situations like this. You see their true colors. But then I think some more...and two realizations come to mind.
The first is that none of us can ever know what is happening in someone else's life. What is transpiring in a person's life will inform how they react to me and my set of circumstances. Perhaps they, too, are injured, or struggling personally or professionally, and don't have additional energy or empathy. Or perhaps my injury, or lack of health, strikes too close to something in their past, some injury, or some family tragedy, or some deep-seeded fear of which I know nothing about. So maybe I have been too quick to judge another's reaction...without having walked in their shoes.
Then I wonder if it is all about the roles we play in our relationships with others. We all have many roles, and in my job as massage therapist, I help people. I take care of others. I wonder if it is hard for some to imagine me as needy. In my job as fitness instructor, I am the leader and I am strong. I wonder if it creates a sense of unease...knowing that I can be vulnerable as well. Life events will change the balance in our relationships. They shift the equilibrium. And perhaps not everyone is willing, or able, to notice and adjust to that shift, even temporarily. Hmmmm. I'm not sure. At the moment it is all a working theory. What do you think?