My love for the broken-hearted began years ago, when I fell in sympathy with my dear mother. Sympathy for me is a state of spiritual grace in which the person with whom I sympathize can do no wrong, or any wrong they do is either delightfully odd or totally understandable. As you might imagine, this isn’t always a great recipe for relationships and sometimes sets me up for huge disappointment. I tend to put these SWPs (Sympathy Worthy Peeps) up on a pedestal and ignore any "mean person coming" warning signs.
Broken-hearted people are the highest order of SWPs due to their possession of small sweet broken parts that might benefit from any of my kindness, wisdom, listening attention, or humor. When I sympathize, I access for a split second the non-kick-ass-tough-chic part of myself. In a word, I access my inner Mother. If I love someone and find them sympathetic, I can be so generous and forgiving and patient, I feel like I’ve been taken over by another being.
But then I revert back to my critical, rigid, judgmental self and realize it’s still me… just softer.
Thankfully, my kids usually have 100% access to this wiser gentler CrankMama, as does my husband and many of my dear and beloved women friends.
If I could love everyone as I love these few, I’d DEFINITELY get into the Celestial Kingdom*. Since I don’t, I’m sure I’ll wind up somewhere much much warmer, with an evil cackling ruler, a terrible haircut, and bad shoes.
But this sympathy truly flowered when I realized that my Mother, for all her faults, had a heart of total gold and no evil intentions whatsoever.
She saved my life when I had my twins. When they were newborns and I had to return to work, she’d drive 90 minutes one-way to watch the babies and then drive home again through traffic totally exhausted by twincare. Then, when I moved closer to her and split from the twin’s Dad, she’d come to my house every morning at 4:45am and watch my daughters so I could commute to my job an hour away. She never complained –only quietly and lovingly cared for my daughters. Her kindness is perhaps the best gift I’ve ever been given.
Her ability to love unconditionally and overcome her own trials and tribulations is probably the most powerful contributor to the small kindnesses I can spare amid my busy tired and selfish days.
And if I can teach my daughters to grow this love even greater for the next generation, I will be able to leave a lasting legacy of caring and kindness in her name. The Queen of Sympathy.