A discussion happened with a client of mine today (details on that farther below), on the job, and it made me think of something I posted something awhile ago on my Facebook, a small great interview from an music artist (The Singer of Mewithoutyou) that I have a ton of respect for, not only for his music (in particular their album “Brother/Sister”, which will be reviewed on this site (very soon) as all albums I love will eventually be…), but also his philosophy/attitude toward charity/life, etc…
In this brief interview, after some very amusing introductory comments and a great little story by him to illustrate the main point coming, its clear to me that this is a person who has been blessed with a great deal of understanding, concerning major human factors in life; suffering, evil, hope, love etc…and a pretty darn capable gift of sharing his opinion on those difficult subjects. I can really respect his concluding remarks, about how to focus on the person next to you and not only some ideological “wish it could be” sort of compassion and his willingness to admit the potential for evil in himself, the same as any other person. It’s rare to find such an honest confession from someone and I think it’s pretty awesome.
The interview is here:
The discussion with my client resolved around the fact that he is a veteran (a paratrooper I believe) and we got on the subject of the sad mental and physical condition that some people come back from war in. He spoke of how many young people he sees at the local VA, people from the Iraq war, and how in some cases, they are completely broken/aged far beyond their years. I personally cannot understand the depth of this trauma although it’s easy for me to conceptualize how it might feel, just really meditate of shocking things before me, being forced to commit those same terrible deeds, etc…but I can’t truly KNOW how it feels. Then he mentioned a guy there, with no arms and no legs, someone for all I would assume has all the reason in the world to embrace despair and bitterness at a level I could never know (or at least don’t at this time [knock on wood]) and yet this person I was told is full of joy, humor, a real inspiration to people around him.
My initial thought during this conversation was ‘how can I ever be glum, sad, moody, depressed (at times), when this guy is happy, and in a state of existence that couldn’t imagine having any joy in, and then I thought, ‘how much better to be the young traumatized man with all of his limbs still intact, facing some inner demons, but still bodily ‘WHOLE”, – it seemed a sensible conclusion, but then it hit me how completely backwards my thinking on this was…
…If the young man doesn’t recover, never embraces the life before him again, doesn’t find a path to happiness that he can travel, and do so for the most part; and the limbless individual, remains happy, hilarious and a real inspiration to people, and does so for the most part – how can I prefer to be the young man? Surely I’m projecting my own mind (thankfully I don’t have a damaged mind (this is of course debatable) 😛 into the good body and not having the mind of the traumatized person at all, well DOH…the choice would be clear if that was the case.
But it wouldn’t be my mind; in these examples/scenarios it would broken, and I submit how much better it is to live a life where you can express and feel joy, humor, etc… and touch the lives of those around you, despite your obvious physical difficulties, then to be a walking, seemingly whole to the eye, but in greater deed and heart, already dead.
NOTE: (believe it or not I do actually work most of the time when I’m working…it’s just I get some down-time occasionally; in this case I was waiting for a few minutes for something to charge its batteries that I needed to test.)