Compassion. It means stepping out of yourself, tossing your ego to the wind, and reaching deep into your soul to help another.
Over the past few years, my mom, a true best friend, has been losing her hearing. She now wears two hearing aids. They help a lot, to a degree. Noisy restaurants are bedlam for her. The background clinging and clanging obstructs the voices of people sitting right next to her. My mom is a very outgoing person, and it’s difficult in these instances to see the quietness and look of isolation that overcomes her being.
I’ve noticed that many of us waffle our words when we talk, we don’t articulate. Not such a big deal if you have good hearing. “What? What did you say?” she often asks. Some people get annoyed when they have to repeat things.
Sometimes mom answers a question that wasn’t asked or makes a comment that is irrelevant because she misheard the sentence before. That can provoke snickers and laughter. It’s not one bit funny.
I try to be compassionate by being tuned in to her communication needs. To be close in proximity when speaking to hear. Or making sure she is looking at me, without actually verbally suggesting it. And when I notice that look of isolation, I engage her.
I have another family member who also has hearing challenges. One time, when people were getting perturbed and impatient with the difficult conversation, he once said, “You think it’s difficult for you? What about me? Do you think I enjoy this?” That registered with everyone involved.
So I’d like to suggest that we each reach from within to notice who’s without. Who seems forlorn? Whose eyes express what you hope you never feel? Who could use a little more of you? Then, show compassion.
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