Peanuts: Lucy, Linus, Charlie-Brown & Snoopy. You know. What is it about Peanuts that so many people could relate to, laugh, cry about and keep you wanting more? Cathy Guisewite ( a comic strip cartoonist) said of Charles Schulz (creator of Peanuts) “He gave everyone in the world characters who knew exactly how all of us felt, who made us feel we were never alone…He encouraged us. He commiserated WITH us.” Charles Schulz had compassion and a real understanding of humanity.
As my life unfolds and the lives of those in my family, my friends, my patients, as well as the city I live in, more and more, these last two qualities are the HEART & SOUL of surviving in this world. Life is hard: EVERYONE has battles, and it doesn’t matter whether in your view they are important or “worthy” of attention, love, compassion or time or whether they are not. Look deep into the eyes, make a human connection and yes, speak to people. That one “hello” with a smile may be the BEST thing in another person’s life.
I recently watched a Ted talk: discussing the virtues of talking to strangers. Making conversations (gasp!!!) without some device, creates a connection which may lead to another and another until we have a “world wide web” of people actually connecting and talking for real! I ponder what that would do for our self esteem, our depression, our anxieties, our stereotypes/stigmas, and the list goes on. Do you KNOW your neighbor? Do you KNOW your siblings, your parents, your BFF?
As some of you may know if you’ve read my blogs, I have my own struggles: CKD (and facing dialysis & transplantation once again….), hemochromatosis, on-going skin cancers & operations, medication side effects ++ including diabetes which thankfully I have the determination to keep under control. Then there is life. We all know how that goes, for some pretty good, for others, like myself, we have our fair share plus some extra. All that aside, I struggle, I cry, I get overwhelmed, I want to walk away from many things. More and more, the people you expect to be comforting and somewhat of a “stronghold” even if that is just for a few minutes, are really not up to the job. Certainly, I must ponder, where is their compassion/humanity/empathy??
I am trained as a Registered Nurse: even went so far as get my Master’s. Does this matter? Yes and no. The knowledge is GREAT!! I am able to help/guide/facilitate the majority of my patients and they are very grateful, expressing it in many ways. Verbal feedback is still awkward to receive even when I know at a cerebral level that I am making a difference in their lives, it is still hard to hear. I am working on that and I am letting those comments into my heart and soul to help in my journey.
Compassion and understanding are the essentials of what make people keep going when things are less then desirable. People that can sense when these things are needed are true angels. I can feeling like just curling up and not want to do anything but stay warm by my fire, inside, where I can cry, scream, read, meditate or just zone out with some great music. Then you get that “ting” or some other audible cue that there is SOMEONE out there that has shared something or is trying to send you a message. I am always glad to hear it & will often go check it out: so happy and a mood changer if it’s a friend or something positive, and conversely, a cold caller, mindless “forward”, etc. just makes me want to recoil more. Back to the actual talking to people: talking to strangers, HEARING friends voices on the phone, and better yet, meeting up with them eyeball to eyeball and having that connection, humanity and share in our commonalities.
This isn’t just “peanuts” we are talking about. There is a richness within all of us, we don’t know about it unless we share of ourselves.