Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ain't No Way to Treat a Lady

Over Christmas break I had a falling out with a good friend.  Well, falling out is putting it nicely.  I only sugar-coat it to make it okay to go back to "normal" when I am needy again.  If I don't tell you how awful it really was, then I leave the door open.

It really wasn't a falling out.  It was ugly.  I mean, I have never been spoken to this way....ever!  Even in the midst of an earth-shaking divorce I have never had those words spoken to me, and with such a vengence.  Ugly.  Unkind. Mean.  Cruel.  Loud.

Gotta say it.  It hurt like H-E-double hockey sticks.

God has answers for me that almost always differ from mine.  I think I know what would work best for me and impatiently wait for Him to fulfill the order.  But He knows exactly what I need and when.  And it is always "spot on".  He meets me with a warm blanket and some loving salve to soothe away the aches of trying too long on my own.  God is good.

Many of you know that I am reading and re-reading Eat, Pray, Love.  There is a chapter that comes to mind that describes,

I was married for 23 years since I was 19 years old.  I never knew adult life without my husband.  Good, bad, happy sad.  There were always distractions (insert children) to deter me from really taking a good look at the situation.  But when the end came, people very close to me said they had seen it coming.  Now why didn't they tell me???

Anyway, during those 23 years I ignored (or tried) the changing of the dynamics.  We're just busy.  It's just life.  He didn't mean it that way.  Basically, it was boundary issues.  Mine.

Now, as it says in the book, (and here is where I am beginning to paraphrase the book),

"to have boundary issues one must have boundaries.  But I disappear into the one I love.  I am the permeable membrane.  If I love you, you can have everything.  You can have my time, my devotion, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time-EVERYTHING! If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain.  I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word).  I will protect you from your own insecurity.  I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family.  I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check.  I will give you all this and more, until I get exhausted and depleted. I do not relay these facts about myself with pride, but this is how it's always been."

I have spent more time making sure the other one in my twosome was happy, fulfilled, successful, on time, fed, had a backup toothbrush...well, no need to go on.  And then after I have completed this feat, when I am whipped and tired and needing some care myself, the big dump comes!  And because I fed the expectation that their world would always be "right", my personal expectations fade into the woodwork.  Like they say in the movie, The Christmas Story....I never saw my mom get a hot meal.

In both cases, my friend and my husband, I finally realized that I can and should say no.  Enough.  I can and should receive, at minimum, the common courtesies that we give to absolute strangers.  And if that isn't possible, well then, I will just be alone.

God knew that those harsh, unexpected words from my friend would cause me to stop the insanity.  Deep breath.  Consider yourself.

We cannot and should not buy love. We don't have to trade away ourselves to have it. We deserve it, just by being us.  And if it's not there, either do something about it or move along.

For the past few days I have been humming a song I hardly know, but the one line that has jump started me to action is sung with a twang by Helen Reddy.  "That ain't no way to treat a lady, but maybe it's a way for us to end."

I deserve better.  Friend, you deserve better too.  And to balance this out, we must do better as well.  It is a two-way street.

Remember, words mean things.  Excuses and reasons after the fact do very little to heal.  Our words are flying out there and resound over and over. We cannot get them back.  We can be sincere in our apology and make amends as possible to show that sincerity.  Amends...that's a whole nother discussion.

God knows that I get wrapped up in significant others and lose all thoughts of process, due diligence and self awareness.  I thank Him for answers that I don't want just when I need them!

Dear God,  You are mighty and strong.  You love me and You have my back.  You see my insides and out, my dark and light and You love me anyway.  You think I am the best thing You ever made!  I love You and want to trust You more with the details of my life.  Left to my own devices I just create drama and reek havoc.  Please fill me with peace that only You can supply, no matter my circumstance, no matter the weather, no matter the  feelings, no matter the finances.  You have the right plan just for me! Amen. ~A Lady