Schadenfreude

Back in the 70s, I remember the tv character Maude (Bea Arthur) had a saying. “God will get you for that!” How funny that was, but it was true. God gives us a rap on the head now and again to get right with him and ourselves when we need to. My dad would say, “They’ll get theirs.” Quietly. With conviction. He knew what he was talking about. But he didn’t dwell on a person, their evil acts, or their bad mouthing him. He knew that wasn’t the way to be. My mom, on the other hand, carried grudges. I think her sisters were capable of the same thing to a degree. Mom had more and carried them longer. She still does today. That is a classic adult child move. (Adult child of an alcoholic). We may be doing the same thing and not even realize it. Sometimes, I listen to mom talk about people and I wonder if there is anyone who she really likes. Cousins, let’s not be this way!

So called “sinful” behavior has been around ever since Adam and Eve fell and were evicted from Eden. It’s in our lives, too. I read my daily meditations today, and it was, “Never find delight in another’s misfortune.” Pubililius Syrus, a Latin writer. He was a Syrian, who was brought as a slave to Rome, Italy. His master educated him. He was known for his philosophical sayings, many of which are quoted today. Shakespeare quoted ideas of his often. Muddy Waters did when singing, “A Rolling Stone” (Gathers No Moss) in 1950.

We all have been guilty of wishing wrong on people who hurt us directly or indirectly. It is an unattractive habit, and being human, we all have many unattractive habits. I’ve wished hurt on people who have hurt me, my kids, or my family. I may not wish physical hurt on them, but I know they will get theirs. Then I can let go of it. I just don’t trust them as I may have before. The German word Schadenfreude means “delight in the troubles of another.” That’s a big word for it. The older I get, the more I am in favor of letting God sort it out. He’s the final judge, not me. Too late smart, too soon old!

We are often quick to judge. At the beginning of the Coronavirus, the VFW Post 2503 we support was on alert due to the first patient being on the premises for an hour the last time we were open. At first there was a lot of condemning of this poor woman because no one knew her story. Her identity remains private, but we know who she is. She is a special needs woman who was adopted as a small child whose parents could not care for her. Her family now consists of a half brother and two loving parents. They traveled to Britain to celebrate a grandparent’s 100th birthday. While coming home, the woman became ill. Because of the nature of special needs people’s frequent respiratory infections, this was deemed to be that. She made more than five ER trips and was sent away each time. She was not really ill. Just like a cold.

And being human, even I was among the ones who wondered why the heck she did not stay home. Red-faced embarrassed, I have now changed my tune. I didn’t have the information about the person or the virus to make an educated assessment. I had neither all the facts nor a sense of what anyone deserves to have happen to them. Quick to judge, we humans must take a step back. Assess. Don’t judge, you could make a totally wrong diagnosis of what the problem is. Schadenfreude is “a canker of the heart. If we find it there, we must root it out at once.” Once again, my handy Days of Healing, Days of Joy daily meditations has given me much food for thought. And it goes with a lot of what my dad taught us, too. They’ll get theirs. Not by our judgement, by God’s.

In the spirit of reaping what we sow, may all of our conclusions about others be kind and gentle. Let’s give others what we would like to have ourselves. Let’s just slow down and not be so quick to criticize. Let’s be kinder and gentler with each other, and especially with ourselves. It will help these times be much less harsh on our beings. Thank you for reading, I hope to see you right here again tomorrow. Go enjoy the beautiful day, in your own yard or deck, or patio!

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