Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Happiest Sadist

My sister is a bit of a sadist. She is positively gleeful when someone gets hurt. I remember one time (I was about 8 years old and she was 5) that I fell off a bike. I bumped my chin very hard, and it was "gushing blood" (as we used to say back then). I came inside the house, bawling. My parents were understanding and tried to calm me down, but as soon as my sister saw me, she burst into hysterical laughter. I remember feeling so hurt – emotionally, as well as physically. I'm in pain, and she's laughing?? Thanks for nothing, sister.

As we grew up, the best way to make her laugh was always to pretend we were hurt. We told this secret to the girls who came to our house, and they used it often. Our home was filled with my sister's joyful laugh, but only when someone was in pain or pretending to be in pain.

After a while, it started to bother me. How could she enjoy seeing other people hurt? She's an intelligent girl, so why does she get a kick out of seeing people in pain?

It took me until my seminary year to finally understand. Everyone says that special needs children are on a higher plane of existence. They have a special bond with Hakadosh Baruch Hu (G-d) over and above what a regular person has. They know what we can't know and see what we can't see.

And that is why my sister laughs at pain.

She sees what we don't see - the purpose behind the pain. There's a whole discussion in the gemorah (don't know where exactly) about the concept of yesurim (trials and tribulations). The basic verdict is that yesurim are actually good for you. Instead of giving a person all his punishments in the world to come, Hashem gives some of it down here. But, as the gemorah continues, no matter how good they are for us, no one would ask for them.

Even though we don't ask for them, everyone does have yesurim in this life. It's almost always too hard for us to see past the hardships and pain to the benefits they bring us.

But my sister is special – she can see past it (at least for others). She sees someone in pain and laughs at the benefit that that person is getting without realizing. She sees good where we only see bad.

And so she laughs. Not sadistically, but as an expression of the joy we should all be able to feel.


Anonymous said...

Some children on the autism spectrum laugh when they see another person hurt, or laugh when they see another person crying. In autistic people, this may be due to their own discomfort at seeing someone else's distress, and not knowing how to deal with it. It seems like your sister has a different disability, but I just wanted to say that I've seen this also.

itsagift said...

And it's amazing that you see it this way.

funcuzzled said...

this is a beautiful thought.
I work with special kids- your blog is really interesting for me to read.

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