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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

A Difficult Lesson in Perspective

Have you ever encountered someone who has faced so many hardships over their lifetime that you found it difficult to imagine how they've survived? 

Like all of you, I've known lots of people who have faced hardship. Also like all of you, I've had my own bumps, though considering how long I've been in the game, probably fewer than many. But I recently met someone whose story was almost beyond belief. As each new painful detail was revealed, I found myself thinking "that has to be it, right?" Were I to describe the hand this person was dealt and just a few of the experiences recounted - experiences that routinely accompany a hand like this one - I suspect you would be rendered as speechless as I was. Or, you might think I was exaggerating. Almost fifty years of abuse, marginalization, and cruelty. How does someone endure this? 

Would you believe me if I told you I detected no malice in this individual? No hate directed at abusers or anyone else for that matter. It took me a full emotionally draining hour to de-brief with my wife the experience of spending three hours with someone with this much grace. If I ever lose sight - for even a short while - of my good fortune for a life of minimal hardship, I hope my wife will remind me of that de-brief. Shame on me if I walk away from this experience without gaining at least a little perspective.            



  1. I can't even begin to imagine this. I have never met such a person. It sounds worse than something you would read about! And then to have no malice. Takes my breath away.

    1. Ines; Thanks for the comment. This experience was among the saddest I've ever had.

  2. Good afternoon, Pat. There are so many things running through my mind about this post. The strongest is the amount of attention that still needs to be made in the area of mental health treatment. Repeated articles in the news only strengthen the need. For me, and after reading your post, the one thought that keeps coming to my mind is 'What if?' What if this individual became another who fell through the cracks? What if this person's condition was simply ignored and they were sent away? What if harsher punishment than deserved were to have been applied .. as is too often the case? And, what if this person was not as fortunate as they were to meet with you?
    Be well,

    1. Bob; Thanks for taking the time to read this and give it so much thought. I especially appreciate your final "what if?"