Today I woke to the sound of a guy in a neighboring apartment coughing, choking, dry-heaving, and/or vomiting. He does this almost every day and it's really... revolting. It's like a long drawn out coughing fit that ends with a throaty phlegmy "ahahahaaaa...." That is followed by something resembling an bellow.
Every time I hear it, I think, "Dude, see a friggin' doctor!"
At first I thought it was that morning smoker's hack that I remember so well from my smoking days -- that one I'd get after spending an evening in a smoke filled bar, surrounded by smokers and smoking two packs myself.
Like I said, it's annoying and disgusting.
But today.... today I looked at the guy with compassion. Not that he didn't bring it on himself (maybe -- I don't know) but that's not the point. The point is he is suffering and if there is some way to alleviate that suffering, he in unaware of it... or unwilling, or unable. And I can place myself in those shoes. It's that walking a mile in someone else's moccasins from the fakey native American proverb. Or like the image I posted a week or two ago that reads "Don't expect everyone to understand your journey, especially if they've never had to walk your path."
It's pretty easy, I'm sure for people to tell me to pull my shit together. Most of them can relate to the pain I'm dealing with due to the separation, but so much of the other shit is stuff they can't. Even if someone has gone through the depressive episodes I have, if they are under treatment, it gets harder and harder to relate.
As I thought about my neighbor in terms of compassion -- not pity, but understanding, even if I couldn't exactly get into his head, I could relate to a fellow human who was stuck in a shitty situation. We all get there.
No. Wait. Pause that.
Whether we all get there is not the issue. The point is that I've been there and that gives me the right to feel compassion.
And as the disgust began to fade, I thought I heard someone say, "Have you got another oxygen tank?"