Sep 5, 2006

Is this a neurosis?

Recently I found out that a friend of mine has Cancer (lungs, pancreas and liver) prognosis is terminal and pretty soon. I was stunned and upset and concerned but the one thing that struck me was how grateful I was for my own physical health. That thought has concerned me more, in light of the recent death of the crocodile hunter/Steve Irwin and what that means to his family. I had the same thought and began to look deeper into why I and others seem to feel a sense of gratitude that our own circumstances are different than those that have passed or those that are in the final stages of life.

Why do we often use the suffering of others as a springboard towards gratitude about our own lives? It is not a malicious though but why does it take someone else’s misfortune to make us thankful for what and who we have in our lives and why do I feel so guilty about that sense of gratitude, since it mostly shows up by comparison to someone else’s struggles.

My wife (SHE who must be obeyed!) says that the guilt is because by being thankful and comparing my situation to theirs that I dehumanize the pain of them and their loved ones. That it is easier to deal with when I separate the individual from their suffering. Sorry for opening on such a morbid thought. Your take?

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