Life has so many shades to it. And so do relationships. It does seem that we’re always having to make choices with regard to our relationships. At least, it seems so to me. Given that we all come with our emotional baggage from past experiences, it’s even harder to know what’s right and what’s wrong. There’s the notion that love forgives and accepts and that everyone is on their individual journey. Then there’s another idea that we shouldn’t accept bad behaviour and move on from toxic relationships. I’m at a point where I’ve started to make new friends, tentatively. It’s scary to venture out again. I’m reminded in love and friendship there are no guarantees.
There Are No Guarantees
It’s easy to stay safe. It’s easy to isolate ourselves. To move away from all the hurt and pain and lock ourselves in. As I’m writing this, I recall the lyrics of the Simon and Garfunkel song that go :
I’ve built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
I am a rock
I am an island
Don’t talk of love
But I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried
I am a rock
But is that really living?
Living and loving is being vulnerable. It’s allowing another to see my pain. It’s giving another the power to hurt me.
Terry Hershey tells a story:
Bob works as a pediatric nurse with terminally ill children. One of his “patients,” is a little girl named Emily. Emily loved playing with Bob when he visited her room. She felt safe and they become fast friends. Occasionally, Emily would talk about the time when “Chucky Lee” was “going to come.” Bob assumed she was speaking of a friend, or family member. So, one day he asked her.
Emily told Bob, “Chucky Lee comes to see me sometimes.” And then paused and added, “Chucky Lee is death. Someday Chucky Lee will come and take me away.”
Bob knew that Emily needed to personify death into a character she could understand. It made perfect sense.
“Are you frightened?” he asked.
“Yes, very much. Mostly he comes at night.”
Bob was moved by her clarity and innocence. And he wanted to protect her, to shield her from such sorrow. “At night, when you feel Chucky Lee coming, is there anything you can do to feel better?”
“Oh, yes,” Emily replied brightly, “You have to sing Jingle Bells and other love songs!”
After that Bob asked specifically about her nights.
“Well,” she told him, using a conspiratorial whisper, “Last night, I had to sing Jingle Bells three times, very, very loud.”
No one wants Chucky Lee visiting – whatever it stands for – heartbreak, vulnerability, weakness, the shattering of one’s dreams.
But to live is to experience that. To live is to risk all of these things. To love is also the same. But love somehow empowers us to risk.
Today I take comfort in this phrase.
“There are no guarantees. From the viewpoint of fear, none are strong enough. From the viewpoint of love, none are necessary.”-Emmanuel Teney
Today I want put aside my fears, knowing well that there are no guarantees, and try to trust again.
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