Caring for Others is the Highest Expression of Ourselves

Filed in Living by on March 3, 2016 0 Comments

Munson 5 (2)

There is no greater realization of our humanity than to help another.

How do you feel when you are doing a kindness for someone? Let’s say you see a very old and frail person walking toward the door of a retail shop and you decide to hold the door open for them so they can pass through more easily. The expression on their face at your act of patience and compassion is often priceless. Or say your spouse has fallen ill and needs to be nursed back to health. Putting aside your other responsibilities to provide the care they need is a mystical and transforming act of benevolence and kindness.

If this is indeed the case, that our humanness is defined by acts of caring, then the opposite must also be true. The most fundamental repudiation of who and what we are is represented by murder, rape, physical and emotional abuse, and neglect. These are the most base and depraved aspects of our existence, and reveal a complete absence of humanity.

As you know, I recently lost a beloved pet. Once Munson had gotten older and sick, he required almost constant care. He needed four eye drops and five pills to be administered three times a day. He would frequently get up during the night and need to be taken outside to pee. We took him to his vet or a veterinary specialist 15 – 20 times in the last two years of his life. He eventually began having seizures, and after each episode we would comfort him for several minutes to help him regain full consciousness and alertness.

Some people have asked me whether it was all worth it. Or was Munson just too much trouble in his final years, and did I possibly resent all of the time and effort required for his care?

My answer is an unequivocal “No.” Being with him throughout his life, and especially as he began to falter and needed me so desperately, was an honor, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Caring for my beloved Munson was a rare and precious opportunity for the highest expression of myself.

 

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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