I am done in Santa Barbara. My uncle Woody has been cleared by his surgeon to return to a normal life, for all what that means to an 84 year old man. For the better part of two and a half months I have lived away from Caroline, home, Arizona. I have been frustrated, elated, and overwhelmed – daily. My schedule was not an option, more often than not compromise goes one-way here. This though is not a complaint. I find thanks and reward in having learned a little something about patience, caring, and sharing.
My return home happened a week ago but I have needed this quiet, down, me, time to unwind and spend many a moment with my wife. The most important lesson came when my uncle was in the nursing center for his rehabilitation: loneliness is likely a more dire predicament than any illness or physical pain. Family neglect of a loved one and abandonment are the springboards into despair and loss of hope. Without real love and care, the spark of life quickly withers and the corruption of age ravages the spirit and body to disregard what time may have been left here on earth. I wonder how few of us will learn this lesson while we can gain from it at an early age. Why are we so arrogant to refer to ourselves as a society when our aims for living and social conduct neglect teaching one another the necessity of compassion beyond our immediate family. There are selfless people all around us, nurses, teachers, volunteers, and many others, but they are unseen until our own needs expose their generosity to our naive fortress of me, myself, and I.
The lesson of love and tolerance should be taught as though it were math or science, but then, if we were a compassionate people, war would be all the more difficult, retribution neutered, hate and intolerance might be seen as archaic instead of brands of temporary awareness we sell people who are looking to buy an action to purpose before the next distraction is imposed upon their narrow focus of consumption.