Saturday, Oct. 30, 2004
I just lived through the death of a friendship tonight. I saw it coming, have known it for a while that it was inevitable, and have forestalled it for as long as I could, but in the end, it became an exercise in masochism on my part. Been there, done that, and hopefully I've healed beyond the need for it now.
There is nothing more painful than watching someone self-destruct. That's even more true when it's someone close to you, whether a friend, a lover, a child, or another family member. I've watched it happen, over and over again.
You'd think after a few times, it would get easier to stand back and let the train wreck happen. Of course it doesn't work that way. Just when I think I'm calloused and incapable of caring any more, I get a rude reminder that I'm still breathing and that it's too ingrained in my nature. No matter what, I still care. If I see someone hurting, I will still do my best to help. It's probably the single biggest driving force in my life. I have friends who tell me time and time again that I take on too much responsibility, even claiming responsibility for the things that are wholly out of my control.
I know intellectually that they are right. But I can't make myself turn my back on people in need. Too many other people in the world do that. Too many other people in the world abdicate all responsibility; for themselves, for their families, for their world. Someone has to pick it up the slack, even if it is an overload. Besides, while my brain knows better, my heart doesn't get the message. I can't NOT care.
Then again, even I have my limits. There comes a point where I know I can't do anything, when there's a virtual or actual door slammed in my face. There's a saying that God helps those who help themselves. You could turn that around a bit and point out that no one can help those who WON'T help themselves. I've seen that one played out again and again, too. I've watched people drink or drug themselves to death and/or themselves and their families into ruin; watched people choose a momentary indescretion that destroyed two families; watched people crawl inside themselves after the death of a spouse or lover and shut out any opportunity for fulfillment (theirs and their would-be partner[s],) out of the fear that they'll lose someone again; and seen people use their children as the battering rams to try and destroy their spouse or former spouse, not caring at the damage they inflicted. None of those specific scenarios occurred tonight. Rather, this was someone hurting so badly from the ghosts of their past that they were lashing out indiscriminately, taking out everyone in their path.
I know that particular path. I know it intimately. I've walked it, effectively condemning innocent men (and sometimes women) for the sins of the people in my history. It's only recently that it struck me: we do have the right and the responsibility to learn from our history, but not to repeat it by inflicting it on someone else. We can live in the past, which is really its own death. Or we can choose life, with all of its risks. No one deserves to pay indefinitely for crimes they never committed.
Yeah, I know. Hey Kettle: you're black!
I never got rid of the migraine, though it's a little more bearable at the moment. Sort of. For the past three hours or so, Boss called me roughly every ten minutes. It was a whole lot of small stuff, like installing the drivers for the laser printer to his computer. (God bless the creators of VNC. I could do it all from home.) I guess some of it could have waited until tomorrow or Monday. But given my mood with the implosion of other facets of my life, I didn't mind the distractions.
Youngest Daughter broke up with her loser boyfriend, having come to the conclusion I'd already reached a while back - that he's doing drugs again. Rampant bad judgment isn't the sole venue of the middle-aged or of the young. As a friend of mine pointed out, all men are woman-stupid at times, and all women are man-stupid at times. It's a fact of life. But I'm immensely encouraged to see that my daughters are learning at a much earlier age than I did. I showed them the example of what kind of relationship NOT to have. Who knows? Maybe someday I'll finally change and be the example of how to find the RIGHT kind of relationship. I do believe that in order to find a person who loves me, I have to make myself the kind of person that someone else can love; and yes, my friend, I know that it involves a healthy dose of loving myself. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.
Here's a toast to learning, really learning; discarding the losers but not using innocents as our battering rams to get back at those who hurt us before.
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )