Connecting with a friend on Monday my perspective, didn’t shift as much as it became more real to me, not just an idea rattling around in my mind, but a profound realization. He, a relatively young retired appellate court judge, who is both very aware and deliberately introspective, was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Upon receiving this news he recounted to me, with a high measure of clarity, what it means to truly experience a paradigm shift.
In shock after hearing of his diagnosis he called his (now) ex-girlfriend of several years, for support and encouragement. She, by all previous estimates a caring and wise university professor, after listening to my friend in his most vulnerable state, responded after a brief pause stating that while she felt sorry for his new plight, that she could not endure his ensuing battle with him. She had not signed up for a relationship that included loving and supporting a man who could die or become physically impaired as a result of his treatments.
Truly his story, and the profundity of emotion he expressed as he relayed it to me, hit me like a ton of bricks, and I only experienced his pain tangentially, he was living it! True to form, my friend did not disparage his ex as one might expect, but rather after considering her possible justification for shrugging as she did, he sought to understand her point of view. To date she has not yet given him any sincere heartfelt rationale for her knee jerk disengagement from him, instead, he has done her internal work on her behalf.
In times of knee bending overwhelm, we either step up and engage what we are presented with no matter how ill prepared we personally feel, or we fold. I do not think one, or even several occurrences of turning a blind eye and assuming an unaccountable posture necessarily defines the individual, but when a person deliberately represents themselves as possessing more courage than they truly do, they unwittingly reveal themselves.