It may linger…

Horror is a feeling that cannot last long; human nature is incapable of supporting it. Sadness, whether it be from bereavement, or disappointment, or misfortune of any kind may linger on through life.” James De Mille.

self portrait of sadness

self portrait of sadness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today one of my cats, the ginger one, caught and ate something before I could rescue it.  I think it was probably a young rat.  I’m not a huge fan of rats (because there are so many of them and they are very destructive) but I prefer it if the cats don’t eat them. Cats are skilled hunters and although they’ve been domesticated over many eons their underlying instincts remain unchanged. They are hard-wired to catch and eat small creatures and my contrary wishes don’t always get taken into account.   No-one here in the countryside is unhappy that the cats hunt down a few vermin; they’re glad the rodent hordes aren’t over-running their outhouses, stables or wheat fields.   Sometimes people accuse cats of being cruel but this is a human label and is best applied to human behaviour. Cats simply rely on their instincts to ensure their survival.

Humans do not need to be cruel to one another but wherever you look you can find evidence that such behaviour runs rife through our societies. Whether it’s the school bully, the autocratic boss, the abusive partner, the over-critical parent or the warmongering militia, human cruelty can be found in so many places.  It operates at all levels, physical, emotional and psychological and whilst the horror of those situations may not last for long, the pain and sadness have the power to linger throughout life.  However it happens, when one human hurts another sadness remains long after the horror of the situation has subsided.

I remember my Mum telling me that for as long as she could remember her step-mother branded her stupid and clumsy. (She had a step-mother from the age of five or six).  Growing-up unsupported and demeaned meant my Mother had little self-confidence. She truly believed she was both of these things and thought she had little to offer the rest of society.  It was only when she met my Father and became part of his family that she realised some parents are different; some are kind, loving, compassionate and encouraging.  My Mum blossomed as a person in the company of my Father and his family, she had the most wonderful life with my Dad (who also happens to be a kind, compassionate, intelligent man who puts other people first).  In spite of this change in circumstances I know for a long time my Mum still struggled with thoughts of being unintelligent and awkward.  The saddest thing about it is that she was bright, intuitive, graceful and amiable.  For a long time she thought she was of little value but all those who knew her valued her greatly.  Her step-mother was undoubtedly a cruel woman who caused so much distress. I chose not to maintain contact with her as soon as I was old enough to make my own decisions.

Someone very dear to me is in the midst of the sadness that comes from acts of human cruelty.  Not physical mistreatment but acts of abuse none the less.  It has suffocated their joie de vivre, stolen their dreams and crushed their confidence.  I would like more than anything to remove the pain, eliminate the sadness and create a space where chi might flourish again. I fear I am not that skilled. I can splint broken bones and alleviate the symptoms of a multitude of minor ailments but I know no easy way to mend broken hearts or relieve lingering sadness from a tired soul.  My inability to recover and restore what has been lost disappoints me greatly.  Sometimes I need to work miracles and it saddens me that I cannot.

14 thoughts on “It may linger…

  1. Still, in the end that gift of caring and support counts more than you might imagine. Perhaps you can’t heal someone directly but you certainly can be (and are!) an instrument of healing.


  2. It’s not easy when we can’t make people happy – can’t save them from that situation. I’m so sorry someone you care for is in such a bad situation. Sometimes when can you can’t save someone, the best you can do is be a really fantastic friend/listener/support/touchstone.


  3. It would be nice if we could rescue people from the pain and disappointment of life. Remove them from those who seek to tear them down instead of building them up. It is true, hurting people hurt people and broken people try to break others. Since we can’t always remove others from harmful and destructive situations, we can still love them where they are. The biggest thing we can do is let those we know are hurting know how much we care and that they matter. We/You may be their only ray of hope, sunshine and love. Love never fails!


  4. You have all the skill to mend sorrow, lack of chi, and low self-esteem. You inherited it from your father and his family. You can do the same for this friend that your father did for your mother, Tracy. You said it yourself–love, kindness, compassion, and encouragement. Heal on, my friend. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo


  5. Watching people suffer while feeling powerless to help is almost worse than suffering oneself. You may be offering more help than you realize. In the meantime, it is so hard to wait and witness.


  6. How good it is that your friend has you to offer support. Sometimes just being a witness to the pain by listening can help the person suffering move forward. It sounds as if you are doing all you can.


    • I offer as much support, kindness and shoulders to cry on, I still wish I cold do more but it is hard to now what else to do in these situations


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