The thoughtfulness that attends my current mental and emotional state is something different. It is profoundly self-centered and much more difficult to escape. This thoughtfulness is not detached from feeling, but actually produces very intense feelings. I can think about myself and swirl around in my moroseness for a long time.
I have, by long habit, become accustomed to attending closely to what other people need. Parenting three children affirms that habit, since they require me to put their needs above mine several hours a day. Being a woman, a pastor’s wife, a person who likes to think herself independent and compassionate: these all reinforce possibly excessive other-centeredness. It is shameful to me that I have swung the other direction entirely. Right now, sustaining attention to someone else’s needs is exhausting.
Maybe the burden is not thoughtfulness so much as self-centeredness. It’s like I’m on a teeter-totter and want to get to the balanced spot where I have the humility to recognize both my needs and other’s needs, but so far I’ve been all teeter or all totter.