InkTober 2017: Day 29 – United

I can’t count the number of weddings I’ve been to over my lifetime. I’ve mostly attended them as a guest. However, I’ve also been a bridesmaid many times; and once I acted as a coordinator to make sure a couple’s day went smoothly. I wish I could say all the weddings I’ve attended have been wonderful but that would be a lie. Most of them have been incredible days for celebration, where I’ve witnessed two people deeply in love and committed to sharing their lives together exchange vows. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Not every couple united in matrimony should be. The worst feeling in the world might be sitting at a wedding ceremony where you have intimate knowledge about the people marrying that does not bode well for their future together. I’ve been in this position a few times; and it’s a terrible thing. Having the feeling in your gut, or actually knowing, the marriage won’t last but not being able to say or do anything.

When one of these marriages fails, which they inevitably do, there is no satisfaction in its failure. If you are close to either person, you become a witness to the painful unraveling and separation of two lives that may have united just months before. You get a front row seat to their pain, their anger, and their tears; and while they divide possessions and abandon the matrimonial home, the support of friendship(s) becomes just as necessary, if not more needed, than it was on the day of their union.

 

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The Difficulty Of Being Loved

FACT: When we are loved, it’s not always easy to accept it and take in the full meaning of it.

The difficulty of it lies in trusting the realness of receiving something immeasurable without any expectation of having to give a single thing in return. It’s especially difficult when we have lived lives where we survived abuses and/or significant traumas where love and tenderness were withheld to increase suffering. How can a person trust a reality where things are given without a price or obligation attached, when one’s whole existence screams that it isn’t possible to have that, to be worthy of that, or deserving of another human being who regards your being with tenderness and care?

I’m a witness to this struggle now. I’m seeing this unfold in the life of one of my friends and the mental health toll is enormous. My friend’s partner is in the midst of a major health battle and seems incapable of accepting, or acknowledging, how deeply they are loved and cared for by so many people. This person could be told every hour on the hour that they are loved and they still might never believe it. The exhaustive effort invested in repeated attempts to show love in tangible ways with the gifting of things, through deliberate actions, physical emotional comforts, and just being there are all dismissed as insufficient or outright meaningless; which makes the giver, in return, feel unloved.

Being on the receiving end of this dismissal may be a deeper pain than never being loved. Watching someone I love live through something like this makes me feel helpless. There isn’t enough I can do or say to make this situation better. I can be supportive. I can tell my friend kind words or make suggestions about how to cope. However, I know my actions and words only salve the pain during the moments when we interact. When those moments end, my friend is the one who returns to living this difficult reality. A reality that – if I’m reading things correctly – is not going to end well, no matter how much I hope for an alternate result.

As this situation unfolds, it’s getting harder for me to understand why people make living the lives we have so much harder than they must be. Why do we treat each other so harshly? And why, when we are most in need of it, do we reject the kindness and love of those closest to us?

 

Bonnie Raitt – I Can’t Make You Love Me