Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Before You Say Anything, Consider This

   “You don’t understand it’s hard not to be jealous when everyone has what you want and need.”   A number of possible responses came to mind after a friend hurled that statement in my direction. But, like an old gal once said, “If it’s not a question it doesn’t need an answer.”   Instead of saying anything I listened and said nothing. I’m not her momma.  Besides, you and I both know that there are times when people just aren’t going to listen.
   I’ve certainly been one of those people. When I was dating Steve, a.k.a Drummer #1, people tried to tell me in not so nice words that they thought I was the village idiot for staying involved with him. (They honestly had a point.)  One woman, after listening to me complain about him for the hundred and third time said, “Listen to yourself, all he does is hurt you, why are you doing this to yourself!”  Everyone I knew had something to say about the situation I kept myself in, everyone except Martha that is.
   When I relayed another tale of drama involving Steve to her, Martha listened, changed the subject and then we went on to go hear some music, see a good movie or wander through a book store. She very rarely offered advice or guidance, she just let me be who I was and do what I was doing and God knows, I was going to do what I wanted anyway.  I was a little perplexed about why she didn’t say anything though and what she thought.  Martha was, and is, one of the women I most respect and trust. Not because she is so perfect but because she so human and so gracious about it.  I finally asked her about the situation I was in because I was not a complete brain dead moron.   I wanted to know what she thought and I was ready to hear it.
 We were sitting in a theater waiting for a movie to start when I asked her why she thought I stayed in a relationship that caused me so much pain and turmoil.  She didn’t say anything for a minute than in a matter of fact tone said, “It takes what it takes for as long as it takes you to know what you need to know.” That sentence was what it finally took for me to look at what I was doing with Steve and why. Shortly after that conversation I finally, and to the great relief of my friends, ended things with him.  That was almost twenty years ago, close to it anyway.  I’m on the other side of that particular lesson, thank you very much. But, I’m still learning from it.
   Now, as it happens, I have a couple of friends who are going through the stuff that occasionally happens in life.  Any well meaning advice I am tempted give them, is just that, well meaning, and unnecessary. If they want my advice they’ll ask for it and they haven’t so I’m keeping my mouth shut and letting them be who they need to be. They’re both grown and they both got some sense, at least as much as I do, if not more. We all walk in the shadow of our fears sometimes. It’s part of the human experience.  They’ll get through what they’re going through just fine. Just like I got through what I needed to get through just fine. There’s not a thing I need to do for either of them except keep them in my prayers and keep in touch. It’s not my job to save them because they don’t need to be saved, at least not by me.
  Martha didn’t think she needed to save me and because she didn’t need to save me, she didn’t try. She let me be who I was and do what I needed to do.  That was a great gift in my life.  She told me once, when I was questioning my life and my relative sanity, that I was sane before and would be sane again, (even though at the moment sane wasn’t immediately evident in what I was doing). She had enough faith for both of us. It was awfully nice to be on the receiving end of that and it’s just as nice to be on the giving end of it too. I hope I’m on the giving end of it anyway because I want to be. 
    It takes a generous and loving heart to accept people for who they are and trust that they know how to live their life. It might not be the way I would live my life but their life is not mine to live.  I’m not paying their bills and they’re not sharing my bed. I might feel differently if that were the case but I hope not.
   My friends will get through their stuff just fine. They don’t need to me save them anymore than my jealous friend needs me to save her.  She gets to be who she needs to be too.   Regarding the issue of jealousy though, all I got to say is this, it’s either fear or love baby, but that’s a topic for another day.

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