As so many people have over the last twenty four hours, I have felt sadness at the loss of Robin Williams. I thought, if only he had known how much the world loved him… but hopefully he did. I know that depression is not simply solved by love, that ugly black dog that nips and bites at so many people. Let’s stop and really listen to those around us… are they okay? Sometimes we have to listen very carefully to hear the things they aren’t or can’t say.
Another incident this week caused me to pause and ponder my luck in life. Sitting next to a colleague at an early morning staff meeting, I politely asked if her family were staying well; missing all the ills that are about us. I was referring to the influenza bug that has taken many of our staff and their families down in the past couple of weeks.
She replied, “Oh yes, they are well. My family is in Zimbabwe in the south and the virus is in the western countries.”
I realised that she thought I was asking about her family back in Zimbabwe and the ebola virus raging on the African continent, not her children here. I felt selfish and petty, for the all the small concerns in my life when so many other people face such momentous dangers, fears and emotions.
Grateful today not to be walking a mile in another’s shoes.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life