Tuesday, August 12, 2014

When the giver stops giving and asks for help

For the life of me

I cannot understand

why somebody who so skillfully made others laugh

for so many years,

so consistently,

could die

of a broken heart,


in his room

by his own hand.

I use to laugh – belly laugh – with Patrick, too. He was the funniest real-life person I have ever known. He was kind, generous, thoughtful – and ridiculously funny. I truly enjoyed simply being in his presence. His stream of consciousness was light and airy and blissful delight. I was so drawn to how he made me feel. Whatever mood I was in, dissolved into his many, ongoing amusements.

I never one time considered him sad – or saw any signs of depression.

I thought of Patrick as I read about Robin Williams sending “care packages of laughter” to his friends who were struggling, of him dressing up as a wacky doctor and sneaking into the hospital rooms of friends recovering from surgery.

I cried when I read about Robin Williams. 
I felt like I was reading about my friend…

And it makes me think about how well we really know one another.
And it makes me think about how much we like being around those who make us laugh, 
who make us forget about our troubles, 
who make the room light and airy and blissful delight

– even if for a moment…

And it makes me think about how all that shifts when that someone becomes troubled and changes the dynamic of the relationship, from giving to needing 
– I mean, really needing. 
And how bothered we can be with needy people. 

And how the room can be filled with laughter one moment, loving the one who takes them away from their pain, 
but the room suddenly changes 
almost instantaneously 
when  the giver

stops giving

and asks for help

if they even have the courage to ask
because most don’t.
They suffer in silence

On Sunday, Aug. 10, the world wondered what happened to Robin Williams?
Where did he go?
How come we haven’t seen him around
As much?

We miss him.
Today, we miss him.

We will miss him.

And I wish I had known that Patrick was suffering
That Robin Williams was suffering
Because I would have done more
I should have done more

We need to do more
To do better
In helping one another
In good times
And in bad.

And I am haunted today
This moment
By these words of both friends perhaps:

“I use to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone.
It’s not.
The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone.”

Please help me change the world…

Monday, August 11, 2014

I choose love...

I often write about human dilemmas - choices and outcomes that leave me puzzled. Human nature often leads us to a quandary, awkward moments and sudden uncomfortableness that cause our hearts and minds to race.

As of late, I feel as though I am a student of juxtaposition. It seems most of my illusions and perceptions about life have been challenged by slamming deeper truths - from friendships, to family, to jobs - and my marriage. What I have long believed about so many facets of my day-to-day have been challenged if not shattered by a truth I seem powerless to stop or change. 

Life rolls on.

Today while talking with a friend before the start of a church service, another person interrupted our conversation to ask my friend to join a gathering tonight on behalf of their mutual friend. Truth be told, their friend in need is experiencing much of the same challenges as my own. And while my heart breaks for her pain, I also was struck that the Inviter was totally unconcerned about my circumstances despite being of the same nature and degree. And I wondered why. 

And I wondered why God would have me experience that moment, exposing the rawness of my own heart in an awkward moment where I ended up feeling embarrassed and shame -- shame that I felt jealous of a group of people who thought that much about this woman to take time from their busy schedules to buoy her during these challenging days. In my heart and head, I knew no such effort would ever be made on my behalf - for so many reasons. 

It's the grand juxtaposition once again. 

In truth, God has provided all that I need as I enter my eighth week of separation from my husband of 20 years. The days have been dark - and light. I have mourned - and I have rejoiced. I have had days of despair - and days full of a deeper kind of love than I have ever known before. I have learned much. And unlearned perhaps even more. I have cried many tears - and I have experienced a different kind of joy. 

This seems a very personal journey to me as I learn to walk differently. As I think of the gathering tonight on behalf of their friend, I can't help but think of the friends who have come alongside me and have buoyed my heart and soul at different times - suddenly when I needed it most, and surprisingly with some I have not talked with in many months. 

I am looking at the models of friendship differently these days - shoot, I am looking at every model differently. At 53, I am poignantly being shown that most theories I have had about life didn't hold up under the fierce testing that comes with age and experience. Going from books to application has blown most of my ideas away...

Truth is, the overriding emotion I have for the person they are gathering for tonight is compassion. And while I was not invited to join them, I prayed for her - and will continue to do so as she journeys through upcoming weeks that may include her most challenging days ever. She will need sudden friends, surprising friends - and a fortitude that comes from becoming her own friend when there seems to be no one else around.

No two journeys are a like as much as we think them to be. Sometimes we need the juxtaposition to remind us, to poke us, to show us those too human parts of ourselves that instead of feeling awkward or uncomfortable, instead should spur us on to deeper introspection of our hurts and motives, our reactions, to consider more deeply the path we choose to live out our faith in a world overflowing with opportunities to build even more barriers to protect our hearts from offense and pain. 

Instead, this day, I choose love. In the human dilemmas, the many awkward moments in the midst of racing hearts and minds, may I escape the temptation to flee the discomfort and choose love instead. May we always choose love... instead...