24 September 2014


“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey 

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
Bob Marley 

“I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
Jon Katz 

“He must have known I'd want to leave you."
"No, he must have known you would always want to come back.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them”
Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island 

“Friendship- my definition- is built on two things. Respect and trust. Both elements have to be there. And it has to be mutual. You can have respect for someone, but if you don't have trust, the friendship will crumble.”
Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  

 The concept of friendship has been on my mind a lot recently. I wrote a big post about how a certain someone said he wants to be friends but that I don't know how that's possible since he doesn't know how to be a friend to me and friendship should be balanced and two-sided. How self righteous, selfish and unfriend like is that attitude? Yes, ideally friendships are equally yoked, give and receive, everybody benefits from every encounter. But, sometimes one friend has to be the one to give much more than seems fair or right in a given moment. I'm sorry that I have not been a very good friend to a lot of people the last few years. I have been too focused on my own needs and problems and have forgotten how to be a good friend to others despite my own struggles. 
With this new insight I will try to be a better friend.

I am grateful for all the good friends who have shown me that friendship is a whole, and can make broken pieces whole again. Friendship is giving and receiving. Friendship is kind, patient, understanding, forgiving, gentle, uplifting and fulfilling.  Friendship is accepting all the flaws and shortcomings along with the talents and triumphs.  Friendship is just being there in the right moment with the right attitude.  Friendship sometimes feels heavy but is worth the effort. True friendship is worth more than all the riches in the world and costs only time and heart. Friendship is compassionately honest. Friendship is worth fighting for, even if that means just loving someone from whatever distance they need in a moment. And friendship is accepting them back with open arms and a joyful heart when they are ready.

This is how it works. I love the people in my life, and I do for my friends whatever they need me to do for them, again and again, as many times as is necessary. For example, in your case you always forgot who you are and how much you're loved. So what I do for you as your friend is remind you who you are and tell you how much I love you. And this isn't any kind of burden for me, because I love who you are very much. Every time I remind you, I get to remember with you, which is my pleasure.”

23 September 2014

Understanding & Love

“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”  ~ John Steinbeck

“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.”
John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom 

A few months ago I opened a door that had been closed and deadbolted for nearly 7 years.  I did not rush into the decision.  Only after careful and prayerful consideration did I release the lock and grasp the dusty knob.  On the other side of the door stood a man eager for reconnection.  Every step I took hesitantly.  Old scars burned, reminding me to tread carefully.  But his words, so filled with apology and promise, soothed and softened and began to heal the wounds he'd so carelessly created so many years ago.  I sometimes wish the gashes and bruises and breaks were visible, like someone battered and kicked down stairs, then maybe he would have seen the damage and stopped.  But he cut and tore deeply and invisibly.  For reasons I will never understand, I loved him and let him.  I saw goodness in him, made excuses for his mistreatment.  He wasn't parented well, he had a rough childhood, a rough life, he wasn't taught love and compassion and understanding.  I love too easily, too deeply...especially those who are most in need of love and compassion.

He said that he had changed.  He said he wanted me in his life and he regretted all the hurt he had caused.  He said he would commit. He spoke often of our future together, as though being together for a long time was an inevitability.  He said he loved me.  He tried.  I know he tried.  In all his apparent affection and hope for the future, I got lost.  My fear of the past and the still aching scars kept me uncertain and holding back.  I still wasn't sure I wanted to be in the present, let alone continue with him into the future he imagined.  I couldn't keep up.  I couldn't explain my resistance.  I didn't want to hurt him with the hurt he'd caused me.  I wanted to forgive and forget and give the new us a chance.  But he did not understand and impatiently put me off.  It was too hard.  New relationships shouldn't be so hard.  But it wasn't a new relationship, only a new chapter in an old story.  I tried to explain but he wouldn't hear.  My inability to speak is a huge problem between us.  I try to say what I need to but the words don't come out right and he does not try to understand.  On the verge of spewing the words, explaining the circumstance, the conflict inside my heart, he silenced me.

A week ago he broke up with me.  In the moment it was a good break up.  He said he didn't want to lose me and he wanted to just be friends.  I wanted that too, but as the following days evolved I became less certain of the possibility.  "Friendship" is a conflicting term for us.  My definition is very different than his.  So I told him I needed time to consider.  A few days away from him allowed me time to release the breath I hadn't known I'd been holding for months.  Understanding flooded and revealed his best efforts and my mistakes, my fears, my doubts, and my hopes.  I had been so focused on the past and the future I forgot to just be and find joy in the moment.  I noticed too much what he wasn't doing that I forgot to recognize and appreciate the kind and loving things he did: remembering I don't like ice in my water, paying for dinner, walking me to my car, making sure I got home safely, holding me, trying to cheer me up when I was sad or stressed, organizing a weekly game night, killing a huge spider, always volunteering to drive, coming to movie night, holding my hand, giving me his wii when the previous ex took his back, taking me hiking and to soccer games, and so many other things.  They weren't what I asked so I forgot to see and recognize and praise.  On the outside I could see more clearly the way things should have gone.  But from the outside I also saw no way of going back. 

In an effort to move forward I said we could be friends. Knowing him and myself the way I do, I asked for a conversation.  In order for us to be friends in a way that is acceptable to us both, I need guidelines.  I need to know his perspective and I wanted him to understand mine.  Yesterday I asked for the conversation but I didn't explain what I wanted and he was less than enthusiastic so my anxiety got the better of me and I forgot to see the situation from his point of view. I needed to explain to him who I am and how I function...or malfunction sometimes so he (as a friend) would be patient and understanding until I could adjust to what we would become.  I wanted to give us time and space to build trust and learn to function and coexist.  We did not have the pleasant conversation I intended.  Instead, over text message, we both said things I regret.  We did not speak to understand, we did not speak from a place of compassion and kindness, we did not speak progressively. 

I do not understand how things rose and fell so entirely in such a short amount of time.  Everything moved so quickly and I couldn't keep up.  My intention at the beginning was to repair the past, find closure, and move forward with more positive and settled emotions and learn to let go.  Maybe I read too many books, watch too many movies and believe too steadily in wrapping things up in a matter of hours or pages.  Life isn't neat and tidy, people are flawed and not all conflicts can be resolved.  Best intentions are not always rewarded and sometimes all you can do after a fall is to crawl slowly until you are able to regain some sense of footing.  All I can do is accept that things will never be clean and pretty between us.  Whether we are active in each others lives or not he will always be a part of me and I will always hope and pray that life is being kind to him.  I have no idea where to go from here.  From the outside the answers may seem clear, but the situation on the inside is complicated and complex and not easily explained.  All I can do is be in the moment.  The past is gone, the future is uncertain.  I can function only a moment at a time, I can take life as it comes and do my best to keep up and make better decisions as I go.  And I can try harder to say what I need to say, seeking always to communicate from a place of understanding and love.

14 September 2014

Grateful For...

Today is a good day.  It shouldn’t be. I should be overrun with anxiety because I’m waiting to hear from someone, waiting to be allowed to speak, waiting to know…but for reasons I’m not sure of, I’m only slightly nervous.  It seems that perspective and love are powerful forces.  Perhaps I’ll go into that a little more later, but while I’m feeling optimistic, I’m going to write about something else.

About a week and a half ago I was challenged by a dear friend to post on Facebook three things that I’m grateful for each day for one week.  Yesterday was the last day but today I am feeling overcome with gratitude and therefore, I am posting that gratitude here.

Today I am grateful for (in no particular order):

*        Today and this waiting place…regardless of what happens
*        Love, in all its forms, with all its possibilities and hopes and joys
*        Hamburgers
*        Education, both formal and informal
*        Books
*        Art
*        Movies and specific TV Shows
*        Kindness, Courtesy, General Consideration
*        Perspective
*        Music
*        Therapy, both formal and informal
*        Experience
*        Multiple chances to become better, to try again
*        Chuck
*        General Conference Talks
*        Forgiveness
*        Hope and Faith
*        Poetry
*        Photographs
*        Opportunities for communication
*        Nieces and Nephews
*        A house to live in, clothes to wear, food to eat
*        History

*        Hugs, Kisses, Cuddles, etc...
*        Travel, Beauty of the Earth and Sky
*        Family
*        Ketchup, Mustard, Barbeque Sauce
*        Ice Cream
*        Enough
*        Mistakes and opportunities to set things right
*        Plenty
*        Sweet Potato Fries
*        Netflix
*        Answered prayers
*        Blankets
*        Accessibility to so many resources
*        Employment
*        Teddy Bears and other cuddling creatures
*        Dr. Pepper
*        My car
*        Chocolate
*        Words! Words! Words!
*        Champ, the dog who made me love dogs
*        The Gospel of Jesus Christ
*        Scriptures
*        Temples
*        Patience, especially when others are patient with me
*        Friendlies
*        Coworkers: past and present…and future
*        Another new day to try again
*        Particular friends who have stood by me through some particularly difficult moments: Sarah, Zak, Dave, Heather, Rachelle, Brittany, Katie, Kristal, Brian, Natalie, Amy, Thomas, Tara, Crystal, Karen, Jason, James, Tasia, Erin, Jon, Christa, Laurel, Glenda, Eraine, Mary, Myelle, Jonathan, Todd, (and many others.  I’m sorry, my mind is blanking on names…If you feel like your name should be on this list, I assure you your name and acts of kindness are definitely written on my heart).

And so much more.  I am not grateful for the headache that is setting in, however, so I am going to end this now and go lie down.