Charlie's Blog: The Charity of Many Shall Grow Cold


The Charity of Many Shall Grow Cold

And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.

I wish that everyone in the world could experience a traumatic brain injury. I wish everyone would have their brains smashed up. I do not wish evil on anyone. I just wish people weren't so evil. What makes these people so evil is the naive and deluded belief that nothing bad will ever happen to them. Bad things only happen to other people, and they probably deserved those things. What is missing from these people and from the world is charity. Their hearts are cold and indifferent.

I am a traumatic brain injury survivor. I live every day of my life trying to recover from the damage that a profoundly idiotic driver put on me almost five years ago as of this writing. That idiot doesn't care that he did this to me. He lives his life secure once more in the illusion that bad things only happen to other people. Nothing bad will ever touch him and his awesome life.

He is not alone in this delusion. You, Gentle Reader, probably share the same sick delusion. You probably read about crime victims and crash victims and cancer victims and think that only other people die. I will never die. I will never suffer. You are a fool if you think this.

People who have suffered have something that the rest of you do not have. They have compassion. They do not live under the delusion that bad things only happen to other people. They happen to everybody. Your turn is coming if it hasn't come already.

I have never had this delusion. I have known my turn was coming ever since I was a child and lost two of my cousins in a plane crash. I cannot remember their ages now, but they were probably five and seven. I think I was six at the time. I received my cousin's bike, and I never rode that bike without being reminded of his death. I was sorry that happened to him. I just knew the same could and would happen to me. Every person dies. Living right will never change this.

Since my injury, I have tasted the indifference and ignorance of so many people. I do not seek pity or even sympathy. I waste no time on feeling sorry for myself, so I don't need others to feel sorry for me. What I can do without is that profound stupidity that comes from that delusion that Job's false comforters possessed. This is terrible for you, but this is never going to happen to me. What utter fools.

It is better to suffer evil than to be evil. I have brain damage, but I have more sense than the imbecile that did this to me. I would never trade places with him. It is a tragedy to be that damn stupid.

I have done stupid things in my life. Suffering has delivered me from my stupidity. I cannot prevent suffering, but I do ask that it not come from my hand. I never want to live with that kind of guilt. Even in this, I know that a mistake on my part could hurt someone. That could happen to me, too.

I remember a fellow that drove drunk and put his brother in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He caused his brother to become a quadriplegic. This caused so much guilt in the brother who was uninjured that he was driven to suicide. That tragedy tears into my soul. I could have been either one of them. What happened to them could also happen to me.

The final thought is that there are people who have suffered, but it makes them bitter. They extinguish all charity from their own hearts and become the evil. This is usually the backstory of some comic book super villain, but it happens in real life, too. People who turn to Marxism have this trait. Because they didn't get the same breaks as the rich kids, they want to equalize the misery of all people except for themselves. The sick thing is that they disguise this as charity. It isn't. As for the rich kids, they live under the delusion that poverty only happens to other people and not to them.

Charity comes when we learn to love others as ourselves. The first step in that process is to see our shared humanity. When we think that bad things only happen to other people, it breaks the bond of that shared humanity. When we suffer, we find that shared humanity again. When I was in the brain rehab, I met a fellow who was more profoundly damaged than me. He was tasked with making a pot of coffee in the kitchen as part of his therapy. He gave me a cup of that coffee and asked me how it was. I was dying for a cup of java at that moment, and I told him sincerely that it was the best cup of coffee I had ever tasted in my life. And, it was. I appreciated what he must have gone through to make that coffee. When I returned home, I tried to make coffee myself. I did everything right except put water in the empty kettle that was cooking on the stove. I had compassion for that fellow in the brain clinic, but I also realized something else. That fellow was me. What had happened to him also happened to me.