In 1980, John Lennon was gunned down in front of the Dakota. It is one of those classic, you know where you were when ‘this person’ was killed moments in my life.
WHY? I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE I WAS 6 years old in my bedroom, top of the house in 23 Mervan road, Brixton, south London. I remember it with such clarity, even now more than 34 years later I can STILL feel the emotional agony and grief of that moment.
Why is that significant?
Because this incident was (I now realise) the defining moment in my life.
Again. WHY? BUT, MORE IMPORTANTLY WHY IS IT DIFFERENT TO OTHERS WHO REMEMBER IT?
Talking to my mother the other night, I said to her. “God mum, I must have REALLY loved him, I even hear the announcement now of his death and I can still feel my heart breaking”.
My mother laughed out loud, saying. “Andrea darling, we never played their music, we weren’t INTO the ‘Beatles’, You had NO clue who he was, you just could always feel the pain of others, you felt the pain felt by those that loved him”.
I’m like “Mum? Seriously? I cried for how long”? My mum said. “Days and days, you just felt the outpouring of grief of the human race and it devastated your tender little heart, it’s your gift, God gave you the ability to feel the pain of others”.
So yeah, um, my superpower? Is Empathy.. No, WAIT! That sounds good, I get to feel the pain of others as well as my own. Sitting here, at first, I was like two thumbs up to God and a sarcastic “Thanks for that”. And then? “Oh yeah Lord? By the way? That ‘self defeating personality disorder/masochist thing I also got going on? You know, the one where I LITERALLY am drawn to the thing that will cause ME the most pain/destruction? Yeah, that? That was a nice touch on your part too”!
But you know what? After a few days of meditating and worshipping and just reflecting on it, last night I had a complete revelation of exactly why he did this. It IS a gift and it IS a superpower, he made me so, before I had any ‘intention’ or ‘opinions’ I would KNOW when someone was in pain, I would FEEL that pain, THEN he made me so I would seek those who were in pain, but to top it off, he made me with a T.A.R.D.I. S. heart.
Let me explain. Make a fist, that is approximately the size of your heart. I have VERY small hands, but my heart is like the T. A. R. D. I. S for it is bigger on the inside. If you are hurting? I care, it doesn’t just bother me, it doesn’t leave me alone and you know what? Neither will I leave YOU alone until I can be sure you’re not hurting any more. So, in retrospect? My superpower is the ability to know WHO needs my love? Isn’t that bad after all!
On another note (but still connected) Years later as a 18/19 year old, a friend was going through heroin withdrawal. I had never up to that point EVER touched the stuff and I went through the withdrawal WITH her, complete with the shakes, creepy crawlies under the skin and debilitating pain. Looking back, I realise at the time it made her feel not so alone, so it was bad for me, but it helped her, I guess. Just another exceptional strange, but interesting thing that makes me who I am and actually thinking about it, it is the ONE thing I would say adequately reflects who I am as a person. I feel your pain man 😉