I met a woman in the community garden near Maple & 6th. She’s originally from Poland, and doesn’t speak much English. On top of a language barrier she also has a condition that makes speaking difficult and tiresome at best (says the card she apologetically shared with me). We enjoyed some quiet time on two of the garden’s four Adirondack chairs, she knitting and I reading one of her “Hello!” magazines. After half an hour or so, as I got up to leave I thanked her for sharing her time and space, and her magazine, and again she gestured apologetically toward her chest & throat, blew me a kiss and gave me a sad smile. I wonder what she would’ve shared if she could.
Two days later I happened upon an article denoting one of the regrets of the dying, shared by a palliative care nurse:
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others.
As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence
and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.
Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others.
However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life.
Either way, you win.
We spend so much of our lives measuring our words, keeping them within instead of sharing some of our strongest emotions with those that mean a great deal to us. My chance encounter with this woman in the garden was a reminder to find my voice & speak up.