Epiphany With a Side of Joy
I’ll have two, please. Thx.
Today I finished reading the first draft of a book that a woman from my writing group sent me. It left me with a couple of epiphanies, one that left an ironic aftertaste and another that made me smile.
The first was that throughout the book, the characters made these decisions based on what they thought would protect the people they loved from their own actions, when in reality, it simply continued to raise the stakes. People do that a lot. I was exposed to a real life example this week — and the sad reality is that this happens way too often. I mean, let’s face it: only the world’s token sadists actually like hurting people. The rest of us try not to do it, because it makes us feel bad. The trick is to know when you’re only choosing between the lesser of two evils. In the book, the main character had a decade-long affair. She could have left a loveless marriage much earlier…but she didn’t. You can imagine how it turned out. I’ve never cheated on a boyfriend. I know people who I consider generally good people who have, but I honestly do not understand cheating. One common thread is that usually those who do it think that telling their partner would hurt too much, so they let it go on and try to bury it deep so the partner never finds out. But that’s like letting a wound fester. Eventually the pus is going to break the surface, and by then, you might have to have something amputated. Which is something easily avoidable if you had just gotten it fixed first.
Seriously, once you cheat, you forfeit the right to decide what happens to the relationship. Once you’ve broken that trust, which to me is one of the deepest betrayals one can experience on this earth, it’s your partner’s choice what happens. By not coming clean from the get-go, you add robbery to the list of errors and you actively conspire to make someone else a fool.
It doesn’t just happen with cheating — I mean, parents don’t tell their kids about divorces. People put off talking about bad news. I knew someone once who didn’t find out their grandma had died for months because the parents hadn’t wanted to ruin something happy. People didn’t tell me about a friend who had passed for weeks after it happened. When I found out, the grief of her loss was compounded by guilt of not sending her cards or letters during her months of illness (it was cancer), anger at those who knew me and didn’t let me know, and helplessness. There are some things people have a right to know.
All of that was wound up into the little ball of epiphany that just says: if you think you have to protect someone from information, you’re just propping up a falling bridge with an umbrella. Leaves an ironic tinge in my mouth just thinking about it.
The next one was just about the things people do because of insecurities. I wrote a bit on my other blog about this that I’ll repeat here. There’s that old saying: you can’t see the forest through the trees. People are like that with their insecurities. Some of our issues are rooted deeply in fear and pain and a welter of other emotions. Trauma. Those trees are like old growths. They are there, immutable. You can’t just cut them down and get rid of them. And sometimes it can be hard to see the beauty of the forest around us when we trip over the roots of one of those giant trees. Sometimes we stumble into it, and it’s all we can see. Our pain. Past betrayals and hurts. When that happens, some people throw their arms around this tree as though it’s the only safe place, simply because it’s familiar. We’d rather stay there where it’s easy than have to grapple with it in context of the newer trees, the ones we’re afraid won’t hold our weight if we try to climb them. We forget that like any old growth, it’s old. We have to stand up, back up, and look around at the other trees around us to get the sense of the whole forest.
So my last epiphany was this: instead of getting bogged down in the old growth and tripping over its fallen branches and roots the size of trunks, I’m going to climb up into the newer trees and trust that their branches will hold me. I’m going to let their boughs embrace me and look out over the beauty of the forest, because true beauty comes from seeing the whole picture, not just the good or the bad that exists. And in knowing that, there’s joy.
Posted on 20 May, 2010, in empath, love, meanderings, snapshots life, Uncategorized and tagged authenticity, communication, confusion, hope, life, love, people, relationships, trees, trust. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.