When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.
Yehuda Amichai – A Man in His Life
I never cease to be amazed by our ability and need to displace one emotion with another.
There is often an element of loss in illness. I lost contact with many friends during long periods of illness. An important part of the recovery process is to seek out what was lost, and I would attempt to reconnect with people I had lost.
“When he finds – he forgets,” is true on different levels. Restored relationships allow me to forget the loneliness of illness, and they demand that I forget the pain of lying in bed for months or years at a time wondering why people forgot me. I can only relate again when I am willing to forget, and when I love again, I begin to forget the painful parts of the past. Rarely am I able to simultaneously experience all the complex emotions.
I was sitting with an IV before a recent operation much calmer than the people in the beds to my right and left who were terrified of surgery and were literally screaming in fear. My doctor was surprised that I was so calm. “I’ve done this before,” I explained.
“Yes, but often with disastrous results. You’re not scared?”
“No. Whatever the All-Merciful does is for good.”
“You’re blocking out your fears,” he insisted.
“Isn’t it strange for a surgeon to want his patient to be scared?”
“I am bothered more by your calm faith than I would be if you were as terrified as the people screaming!”
I wonder: Who was the one blocking his emotions? As my kids love to say; “Wasn’t me!”
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