Seeing the sadness

There is a lot of sadness in the world, when you really think about it.

I was talking to Ahmad the other night during a workout, he really has become such a dear friend of mine, and I was telling him that someone suggested that I am not a very compassionate person.

And he looked at me and said "Hmm. Well do you think you are?"

I automatically got defensive and said "Well, I mean it depends. I'm not compassionate toward people that make stupid choices and then have to pay the consequences. I'm really not. I'm not sure what that makes me- but I don't feel sad for people like that...but of course I feel sad for, you know...people."

And he quickly said "I know you're compassionate...because I've gotten to know you. But I could see how you could come across as hard or cold."

And I was on the elliptical, so I was just pumping my arms, cycling my legs, and thinking for a minute. And then I said something that I had not really articulated before. A truth that I knew was there, but that I hadn't spoken.

"Well yeah I can see what you're saying. I can see how I could come across that way...but it's not because I don't care. I don't know. I think it's almost because I care too much. About certain things anyway. I mean, I can't watch certain movies, I can't read certain books, I can't look at certain situations, because once I see them, take them in, I really cannot let them go. I guess that started to happen in college. Where everywhere I would look, as much as I would see joy, I couldn't help but watch it be overcome by sadness. There's really lots of sadness in the world. And it could be as simple as seeing someone older, sitting alone at dinner, and I would see that and feel so sad that I would quite literally make up a story in my head about how I shouldn't feel sorry for that person because he probably just killed someone or robbed a bank...seriously, I would. And I guess I decided to turn it off. To deflect things because I didn't know how to deal with them. Because I would see or experience something sad and it would weigh on me for days...and I couldn't shake it. So I figured I would just decide to not go there. So yeah, I'm sure I come across that way. Maybe, in fact, I'm not compassionate. Maybe I'm really not."

That's really a lot to say while working out...
And it's certainly even more to think about. And even as I write this, my chest hurts.

Because you have to look for the joy. But I think there is a chance, that in order to really see and feel the joy, you have to see some of the sadness. I should have made that a resolution. Learning to see the sadness. Understanding the balance.

A heavy blog. But the truth.