Sunday Selflessness

I have to make this one quick since I am heading off to church *sigh* – that’s a story all on its own; perhaps it will be one I tell in the near future. At any rate, the circumstances of this day and surrounding the circumstances of those circumstances involves the idea of “selflessness.” Although it could easily be argued that there really is no such thing as “selflessness,” I want to talk about this idea of doing things with oneself NOT AT THE CENTER OF FOCUS on what is perhaps a very superficial level. However “shallow” this delving might be, one has to start somewhere and to learn what it means to have concern for another over oneself before one can start to unravel the intricacies of WHY regarding others ahead of oneself is not necessarily “selfless.”

What I mean when I say “to have concern for another over oneself” is the very basic “definition” of “selflessness.” This is a topic that has been kind of haunting me for reasons I do not want to go into on a public “forum;” however, suffice it to say that there DOES exist something that distinguishes the undercurrents of “desires;” this can really apply to any kind of relationship, but in order not to *offend* anyone (like you’re ever worried about that one, Beth!), I will cite the following example utilizing my cat as the key figure. I adopted my cat from a local “shelter;” he was just under a year old at the time and he was not at all the kind of cat I was looking to get – I was, actually, initially looking to get a dog – but I fell in love with his personality and the fact that when my mother came back with me to look at the cats, he jumped up into her lap – and that essentially sealed the deal. Fast forward a little bit … my little orange baby got VERY sick and we took him to the vet; while there, they discovered his heart sounded “irregular” and advised us to consult a veterinary cardiologist. After he recovered (thank GOD – the poor thing was SICK), we FOUND said “feline cardio” and Sparky Puck (my cat’s name) was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a congenital heart condition in which the heart muscle grows thicker with time, making it more and more difficult for the heart to function as time progresses. It was a devastating diagnosis and we were on edge for many years about it (my little baby is now 11 years old!); he has had to take 2 doses of 2 kinds of heart medication every day for his entire adopted kitty life. He is doing insanely well – the cardiologist has even said that he has never seen a case “so successful” as that of my little one! BUT TO GET OFF THAT RANT – the point here is that this little guy means the world to me. He has been my only friend through the horrible times when all of my friends have left or betrayed me; he has been there through the worse of this illness and he has seen me through countless encounters with death. Anyone out there who has a dog or a cat (mine is a puppy cat!) and who also has been “through it” can attest to the fact that our little furry friends provide incredible solace and comfort and true unconditional love when no people will do that for us.

At any rate, after I moved out of my parents’ house, I lived in a series of “sketchy” apartments (as mentioned before!) – just places that were far from “secure” and places in which the landlords entered and exited without notice to me – the last apartment I lived in I often found the basement dehumidifier turned “on” when I had intentionally turned it OFF when I went home for a weekend or for a few days. I did not feel that my cat was safe in these environments; I could not GUARANTEE that he would not run out the door if someone decided he or she wanted to show the apartment or had to do maintenance or wanted to screw with the dehumidifier. It was incredibly hard for me – every time I went home, it physically hurt to leave my baby. I worried about him constantly every time I knew people were going in and out of my parents’ house (if he were to get out in those woods, he would be a goner for sure – lost to coyotes or hawks or any number of predators). I worried he didn’t feel loved enough (I know that’s not true, but one still worries!). Now, keep in mind this is a CAT – this is not CHILDREN or other human beings whose very lives depend on our ability to provide stability for them.

At any rate, the point I am getting at is that although I desperately WANTED to have my cat with me (I even tried conjuring ridiculous ideas like a “kitty pen” to build inside these apartments!), I KNEW it was in HIS best interests to stay at home with my parents who could give him his meds 2x a day, who could keep him safe, who could give him love. There were times I desperately needed him with me … but I pulled through. What I am getting at WITH ALL OF THAT is that there is 1. what you want, and 2. what is best for the “other” involved in what you want. As I mentioned above, this can refer to pets, children, friends, partners, parents, &c. – there are so many situations that can be drawn up in which one wants the other(s) to be with him or her but it is NOT in that other’s best interest. I feel that if one is to take responsibility for another life of ANY KIND, one has to be RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH to know what “selflessness” really means – that is, YOUR WANTS COME SECOND TO THE WELL-BEING OF THE ONE OR ONES FOR WHOM YOU ARE “RESPONSIBLE.” If you have a child and you do not have full custody of that child and the child goes to school where his or her other parent lives and all of his or her friends are in that area, it really doesn’t matter how much YOU WANT TO HAVE THAT CHILD, you really “should” look at what is BEST FOR THAT CHILD. That might mean you are heartbroken; that might mean you are lonely; that might mean you are in agony that you cannot be with _____ when you want to be. BUT IF YOU CANNOT PUT THAT PERSON (OR ANIMAL) AHEAD OF YOUR OWN DESIRES, SHOULD YOU REALLY EVEN BE IN THE POSITION TO BE MAKING THAT CALL? I could not sleep soundly if I knew I was tearing my child away from all of his or her friends and out of the school he or she has always gone to and away from the rest of his or her family just because I wanted to have that child with me – and I do not even have children! As discussed in the above example, I could not even do that with my cat … and he is a cat!

I am ending that rant and with any luck my next post will be a little bit more “positive!” This is just an issue that has been bothering me deeply as of late, and something I wanted to get off my chest. There are many other implications to this discussion and perhaps I will delve into them at a later time as well. For now, I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world and I hope to be back very soon! And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember my heart is ALWAYS with YOU!

❤ Always, Beth



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