So it goes. The attendant argument is, who is the better--or worse--sufferer? Ellie just announced that men are far less tolerant of minor afflictions of this kind, with the suggestion that women suffer more nobly, while men simply whine. It's my firm belief that I have, on the contrary, been suffering with admirable stoicism. I scarcely like to remind her, but she lay in bed moaning for days on end, requiring liberal doses of spousal attention. I have been fending for myself. Who was it, I ask--without actually asking--got up and made the tea for both of us this morning, despite his dire sickness?
I guess the truth is that we all think we suffer nobly, while our spouse makes a big fuss of relatively minor complaints. Comparisons are invidious. Pain and suffering are immeasurable. Who knows whether the pain in my knee is more or less bearable than Ellie's pain in the back? Better simply to avoid the judgment and respond with compassion--for oneself, for the other--when these circumstances prevail, as they will certainly continue to do as we advance in years. One of the hoped-for benefits of meditation is to learn to age wisely. The number of aches and frailties is likely---no, certain--to increase in the coming years. Now is a good time to learn how to "take care of myself with ease."