Walking Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed an older sponge crawling in front of me. He was having a lot of trouble moving, so I offered to lend a hand.
Sponge? Need some help?
SPONGE: Yes, thank you. I’m older and I’m on overload.
What do you mean?
SPONGE: Well, I’m on my way back from a high school reunion. Everyone I knew from way back was there. The dish detergent…the Brillo…the bar of soap… We’re all aging. But some of us are feeling better than others.
It works that way with people, too. It’s very hard to be part of whatever this phase of life is supposed to be.
SPONGE: It IS very hard! And my problem is, as a sponge, I absorb it all. I take in everybody’s pain, plus my own, and now it’s weighing me down. In my older age, I can’t hold in all these feelings without having symptoms. I can hardly move. Sometimes it paralyzes me.
I know what you mean. I’m most grateful to be here. But when I meet up with someone who has very serious health issues, I take in their feelings. I experience their feelings as mine, too.
SPONGE: Today I saw the plastic bottle of dish soap I grew up with. She’s almost out of liquid soap. She’s scared. What will her life be like without the soap? They’ve been together forever. My heart hurts for her.
I know someone who’s so sick he has no fight left in him. He doesn’t want to be here anymore. I feel his pain even though I can’t quite understand it.
SPONGE: I know a bar of soap like that, too. She’s so thin she’s wasting away. She says being like that isn’t living anymore. When she speaks that way, I absorb her pain.
But…are we supposed to be experiencing gratitude this way? Or are we supposed to separate our lives from theirs and live the best way we can at this moment?
SPONGE: Maybe both.