Tuesday, September 01, 2015


I love this story from Irvin D. Yalom.
One of his patient's with breast cancer who throughout adolescence had been locked in a long, bitter struggle with her naysaying father. Looking forward to some form of reconciliation, she looked forward to her father driving her to college; a time she would be alone with him for several hours. The trip turned out to be 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 found 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 each side of the road. ''This time I was the driver'', she said sadly, and the stream I saw was as ugly and polluted as her father had described it. But by the time she had learned to look out her father' window, it was too late - her father was dead and buried.
Yalom remarks that the story remained with him, and on many occasions he has reminded himself and his patients, 'Look out the other's window'. Try to see the world from another's perspective.
It's so relevant to many things in life such as empathy and honing our compassion for others. I think it's just awesome, and makes me want to delve into more of Yalom's writings.