This moved me deeply … how many times do we all do this?

EMPATHY – LOOKING OUT
OF THE PATIENT’S WINDOW

(The Gift of Therapy … Irvin D. Yalom)

Decades ago I saw a patient with breast cancer, who had,
throughout adolescence, been locked in a long, bitter struggle with her
naysaying father. Yearning for some form
of reconciliation, for a new, fresh beginning to their relationship, she looked
forward to her father’s driving her to college – a time when she would be alone
with him for several hours. But the long-anticipated trip proved a disaster;
her father behaved true to form by grousing at length about the ugly,
garbage-littered creek by the side of the road.
She, on the other hand, saw no litter whatsoever in the beautiful,
rustic, unspoiled stream. She could find no way to respond and eventually,
lapsing into silence, they spent the remainder of the trip looking away from
each other.

Later, she made the same trip alone and was astounded to
note that there were two streams – one on each side of the road. “This time I was the driver” she said sadly
“and the stream I saw through my window on the driver’s side was just as ugly
and polluted as my father had described it”.
But by the time she had learned to look out of her father’s window, it
was too late.

It’s a fabulous book and I would recommend it to everyone. In fact it should be part of the school curriculum.