Right now, I'm fasting. Once a month, every month, at the start of that month, for about 30 hours I eat nothing and drink only water. For some reason it hurts, but I don't care. I do this on behalf of something more important - an act of empathy. Let me explain.
Remember when you had that operation, how frightened you were? The prayers you asked for? Remember when your dog died, how sad you felt? And your cat, when he was so sick. What about your Mom, who you miss so much, and your Father who you haven't spoken to in so long. That brother who died so young, who you can't stop grieving for. Let's not forget the pain you live with every day of your life. At some point, almost all of you have asked in your own way for prayers, for rememberances, for empathy. When I tap out my comments on your pages about something close to your heart, I make a commitment and I do this most seriously because I keep each commitment I make.
I'm looking at two pages, both sides filled with names of people, things, animals, intentions. To read any would do a disservice to those who have wants and needs but don't know how to ask, so I'll say only that if you've ever made a plea for something or someone, your name is here. Some of these names represent lives who've died to this world. They don't need my prayers anymore, I need theirs. But I keep the names.
Why am I disclosing something I've kept so private...Up to now, this post would never have been made, but something's gone so terribly wrong and I don't understand it. I've been confronted with anger, confusion and fierce opposition to what I do each month. So of course, I come here to present my position. Certain members of my family and several friends somehow found out I do this, and the more vocal of them are furious.
"Are you an idiot?? You're damaging your health for people you don't know!"
"These aren't real people, Cathy, they're virtual. You don't even know if they exist."
"Without food for that long you can't walk. Keep this up and someone will have to step in."
"No one really cares - why should you?!"
When a person galvanizes themselves, their body, mind, spirit, on behalf of another life, to me it makes that person so much more than ever they were. I'm grateful and privileged to be able to use this ability in the name of someone other than myself.
Yet I love my family and friends, they're all hard-won and precious. Incredibly, I've heard myself agreeing with some, eating crow to preserve the peace - and I'm ashamed of that. Though I'm set on continuing this tradition, it's important to me that my acts don't affect them in a negative way. This seems to be one of those acts. I note that some don't seem to understand the real value of people, even themselves, and look upon what I do as self-destrutive - one insists I have a mental defect. Is it a character flaw to care about people?
Whatever God represents to others, I see that as private and inviting no preachful sounds from anyone. God to me is not so much loving as LOVE ITSELF and no power can match it. So I look to that Supreme Love on behalf of you, your needs, your fears and hopes, your family, your life. I've been invited into your lives, I'd be monstrously selfish to decline such an offer. To me, every person who takes the time to venture into this experiment of public journalling makes a statement, and it's one of trust. Trust and hope that someone will read their words and it'll matter. It will make a difference. It does to me.
Whether it's a tale of woe or one of joy, whether it's about the broken washing machine or the broken heart, whether it's simple or complex, I see each word as a direct call to others, just as I do here. I'd be a sorry excuse and a blatant liar if I said I write in these pages only for myself. If I wanted to hear myself talk there's an easier way to do it than this. The input and feedback I get in comments, even if it's but one, is welcome help and sometimes just the right guidance and assurance needed. Other times, and most of it, all a human being wants is contact.
So I put it to you: Does caring really matter anymore, in a world where people are so focused on what affects them and nothing more? Why do we put such distance between each other?