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Sue to Mark 12, part 3

            No, Im not putting it off.  I was just getting warmed up. (!)  OK, here it (my personal self-assessment) comes:  I guess my trait that presents the biggest hurdle in intimate relationships is that Im not the most compassionate person in the world.  Im the oldest child, the daughter of an Air Force Colonel with a commanding, powerful presence, who continually pounded me with concepts like Rugged Individualism and The Pioneer Spirit.  When the Going gets Tough, the Tough get Going, etc.  These concepts have served me well through all my tribulations but they do make for a somewhat militaristic mothering style.  Im a terrible nurse.  My kids are basically not allowed to be sick.  When, for some reason, they disobey and get sick, I respond with Youll be fine.  Here, wash down this Tylenol and Vitamin C with some orange juice and youll be good as new.  I feel that antibiotics are way over-prescribed, and I very rarely take my girls to the doctor when they run a fever.   They are actually phenomenally healthy.  Erins sick more than the other two, but they are rarely sick more than once a year. 


            Im often impatient with peoples problems because Ive seen how people are the cause of most of their problems.  Of course, stuff happens TO you, like it did to you and me things we didnt cause.  Still, the life-impact of these problems depends, I believe, on your response to them.  One of the best books I read in college was Mans Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist  who lived through the Nazi concentration camps.  That was his main idea that no one can take away our choice of how to respond to things outside our control.  We can CHOSE to be faithful or longsuffering or selfless in the face of it all, or we can choose from a wide range of opposite reactions unremitting bitterness, anger, violence, insanity, cruelty, stupidity.  So often, people  give themselves over to victim-hood.   It is much easier, in some ways, than the mental persistence which patience and courage and longsuffering require.   Of course, those who choose what I think is the meaningful path are allowed moments of discouragement and failure.  But Im talking about a response which is PRIMARILY patient, faithful and selfless.  Oh dear, this does sound like Im trying to justify my failure to be compassionate.  I think Im trying more to explain it, but the fact is, I AM low in the compassion department and I need to work on it.


            My brother-in-law Mark (the compulsive vacuumer) says I talk too much.  My family gives me a hard time about this, so undoubtedly, this is the case.  Gee, you wouldnt guess that from the excessive length of my letters, would you?  I am trying to put a lid on it more and engage the other parties more fully.




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