The other side…post #4

I don’t know about you, but I don’t love spiders.  Nope, not one bit.  In fact, I tend to squish them with the nearest flip-flop when I see one in our house.  The garden is their territory and I respect that.  The stay there.  I stay here.  And we’re all happy.  Whether it’s spiders or something equally creepy, we all have something that we prefer to avoid.  And there’s no avoiding these creepy-critters. They are part of our very complex ecosystem, and they serve an important purpose in the environment. So whilst we may not like them, we also cannot imagine a world without them. Am I right?As a family, we have just come through a truly challenging week.  Not a week we could have planned or anticipated; but a week that we simply had to deal with.  It was like having no choice but to pick up the spider, and protect and appreciate the spider that has arrived in your bed – uninvited.  In this very challenging time, which involved two medical admissions by my elderly parents during the same week, I learnt a lot about myself, and about others.  This got me thinking – no matter how difficult the situation, and how much you’d like to wish yourself out of it; it may be better to just embrace it, bring your best self to the situation, and appreciate it for what it will teach you.I was reminded that ‘good health is the crown on the head of a well person, that only a sick person can see’.  When we, or a loved one, are physically ill; we are completely at the mercy of other humans.  Doctors, nurses, and the myriad of other clinicians and clerical staff that surround a hospital event. I witnessed kindness, consideration, sacrifice, resilience and compassion.  Conversely, I witnessed a kind of numbness, lack of interest and care, a lack of empathy.  Not judging, just reporting my experience.  There is a clear difference between those people who are wired to help – using all of their experience and know-how; versus those who are just getting through the day.  Treating you as an inconvenience.  Fortunately, that was not the majority.As a further extension of this, I witnessed the genuine compassion that patients showed towards fellow patients. Those that could help other patients, did so.  And those that needed the help of others, asked for it.  What I learned about myself, with my ‘get on with it’ attitude, and my ‘forge ahead’ mentality; was that I can forge-ahead with compassion.  I can get it done with care and with unconditional empathy.  To be honest, I surprised myself.So perhaps the spider is not that bad after all, and we should stop avoiding it, and instead appreciate it.  And so here I was, planning to take a picture of a purple flower, but instead appreciating the spider for all that it had to offer.  And it was beautiful.SAM_2802Our garden, Durban, South Africa. Photo taken by Alison

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