The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
Maybe it's best to not do anything, but just be there, like in this poem that really resonates with me:
If I should suddenly well up and over,
Let me cry.
I have century's tears deep-frozen
Your voice, warm - touching my name -
Could salt the frozen clouds to burst.
I've felt the melting
When your voice calling
Gathers me to something meaningful.
In this world of senseless transiency,
If you should say my name
And I should cry
Do not question why.
Let me cry:
It won't be you who makes me cry,
But you who lets me.
(If you know who wrote this, please let me know.)
When I'd just managed to get back to weekly blogging, the blog suffered from abandonment again. Now I'm back, and hopefully, there won't be much to disrupt the blogging schedule for a while.
The reason for the blog's abandonment, and the more personal style of this entry is this: Shortly after a cancer diagnosis, my mum died on January 28, and I went overseas to be with my family for a while.
I reckon that most people, when they are faced with the diagnosis of a serious, possibly life-threatening disease, either for themselves or for a loved one, at first don't know what to do or how to react. Friends and family members who've faced a similar situation can be a big help. If no one like that is around, it might be helpful to read in a book like the Handbook for Mortals, which addresses a wide range of themes e.g. Living with serious illness, Talking with your doctor, Decisions about resuscitation, The dying of children, or Enduring Grief and Loss.
After all, books are (still) written by real people, and reading is like a dialogue in which one person speaks a lot, and the other not so much...
For me, talking with people from the hospice where I volunteer helped to deal with the initial shock. This is when you realise that half a world can be very far from home, when you can't just take the afternoon off to visit a family member in hospital...
There really isn't a "right way" to cope with the loss of a dear one, but I think when you're honest about what's going on, it helps to navigate those unknown waters. I found that out in several situations, like this one: After the funeral service, we gave a "memorial tea" at our home. When everyone had walked in, all eyes turned expectantly to me and my brothers. The silence was quite awkward, until I said something like "It's the first time anyone in my life died, so I don't know what to say in this situation either. I guess, please just help yourselves to tea and coffee, and have a seat..." That defused the tense atmosphere, and the rest of the afternoon went just fine.
Yes, it takes some time to adjust to the new "mum-less" situation, but life and death are really two sides of the same medal, and life was very good to me, too: I've just gotten engaged, and am very very happy about that. And I guess mum will enjoy coming to my wedding without having to fly economy class for 23 hours...