**6 months earlier**
I'm a sucker for shows that start this way. There is always a tension inside me between distaste with the writers for hooking my attention with this cliche tool and loving that this cliche tool succeeds in hooking my attention. I really want to see what happened earlier to lead up this climactic moment in the show.
Compared to most television shows/movies, however, my life is much less climactic. But that doesn't really matter, does it? Pain is a relative thing. Ask people of differing ages and experiences how much a skinned knee hurts (say, my eight year old son and my 75 year old father) and you will get significantly different answers. Our pain is uniquely qualified by our own perspective, not others. What is devastating to me, may seem trivial to someone else. The sharp pain of a stubbed toe temporarily obliterates your awareness of all else, yet an onlooker may simply find it funny.
I explain that as a disclaimer and a justification of the fact that the last several months of my life have been really hard (relatively). And, frankly, it is hard for me to admit it. I was raised on stories of the Bataan Death March and Vietnamese prisoner of war camps; images of monks lighting themselves on fire and tanks rolling over people in Tienanmen Square; knowledge of the War to End All Wars and then the next one and the next one depictions of the Great Depression and the Holocaust; studies about despotic and genocidal leaders like Stalin and Pol Pot and Mao Tse-tung and Hitler and the Ayatollah Khomeini; real possibilities of nuclear war and, and, and...
|Life's pretty good|
So, it is hard to complain... out loud.
Because I do plenty of complaining. I just don't verbalize it. Complaining out loud would be wrong. That would allow others to compare my pain against those absolute standards of suffering like poverty and starvation and abuse that makes my hardship seem less, well, hard. So, I try and focus on what I have, what I'm thankful for. And it works. Mostly.