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Friday, December 24, 2010

Pain Makes Everyone Selfish

Pain makes everyone selfish to one degree or another by turning our attention to our own, rather than to others', pain and needs.
This is the crucial quote from, "Man under a train — reflecting on compassion and the pain of suicide" in Mormon Times.

So, is pain one of Satan's tools? It's certainly possible. I cannot imagine him foregoing such a useful tool to induce selfishness. 

I've always believed the Church and it's leaders to be inspired but I have trouble believing the chair-buying committee is. One look at the chairs in my new branch and I groaned. knew I was in for three hours of continual pain every Sunday. Do they think we are all midgets?

Often, all it takes for us to put our own pain into perspective, and instantly feel ashamed of ourselves, is to be reminded of others' pain.

One night when my husband was at the police academy, one of our two dogs figured out a way to escape our back yard enclosure. After enduring several hours of barking from the other one I groggily got up and was placing a bark collar on Baron, our male, when it occurred to me that Greta was nowhere to be seen.

It wouldn't do for the Police Chief's wife to get cited under a noise ordinance for barking dogs when the Chief was away from home. I knew I had to hunt Greta down and somehow corral her. I hurriedly dressed and apologized to Baron, I had somehow failed to recognize his distinctive, "She's escaped, come get her!" bark and gave him a treat for his obedience in staying in the yard and for trying to alert me.

She wasn't hard to find. It was clear from the tracks in the dirt that she frequently returned to our fence to taunt her brother. I'd noticed this behavior before from paw prints in the snow from other Houdini incidents.

I put her back in the yard and combed the fence for her escape route. I blocked what I thought she had used. At about 4 am I returned to my bed. At 7 am the entire process had to be repeated. I had had a miserable night by this time and slept until 9 am when I had to do it all over again. At 10:30 am I got a call from my husband at the police academy. I expected it because I knew it was break time and he usually placed a call to me then.

I was ready to lay a real pity party on him. Before I could speak he asked me if I was aware of the news. I said "No" as a preface to launching my prepared speech on dog misery when he said, "Terrorists have flown planes into the World Trade Center and both towers have collapsed. Thousands of people may be dead!"

I managed to eke out, "Oh, golly. I was going to complain about the dogs."

That put my pain into perspective very fast. . .

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