April 15, 2012

Nothing but a Stem.

Posted in Life Lessons, My Five tagged , , , , at 4:11 pm by openendedcomment

As we age, we learn.  This is not news.

As it was in school; some lessons are harder than others and some take longer to sink in.  The difference in the lessons of today is the inability to avoid them…back in high-school, when I didn’t want to attend a class (geometry) I would simply skip out, head to the library and read until the class had ended.  Yes, I was a nerd.  So what.  The point is that back then, I had the ability to avoid the unpleasant lessons life was attempting to force on me and opt for more enjoyable ways to spend my time. There were no real consequences aside from my lack of knowledge regarding obtuse/right angles…or whatever Mr. Swenson was trying to say.  I seriously have no clue.

These days, the lessons of life are harder to avoid.  To avoid is to incur real consequence.  That, combined with my older, wiser (I hope wiser) self that actually cares about doing the “right thing” makes it harder for me to avoid the unpleasantness of difficult moments.

I had one last night.

Glitter’s anniversary.  She was, as I had predicted, lovely and radiant with adoration of and from her husband.  Her mother was warm and funny.  Her Virgo sister teared up and still managed to look perfectly poised. Two more women I knew in childhood are expecting children of their own.  All was as I had thought it would be.  Well, almost.  I wished I could have stayed and celebrated with her longer, but to do so would be to allow my husband to be hurt further and though I love her dearly, I love him more.  That’s just the way it is and I hope she understood.

He was ambushed, or rather we were ambushed.  I could take it as I had many other friends there, him, not so much.  It was my group, not his.   For reasons unknown to me; a woman I used to know (yesterday’s Rockstar, today’s sad remains) found it necessary to be as hateful as a person can be.  I will not write what she said and I will not call her by name.  Suffice to say that the worst case scenario I could have come up with in my head regarding her possible behavior was vastly surpassed.  Stunning.  Her viciousness and lowliness was stunning.  I should be hurt…I should be sad.  But I’m not.  In order to feel those things I would have to care.  I thought I did, only yesterday I was certain I did.  It dawned on me…as I saw the anger and the pain in the eyes of the man I love caused by someone I had called friend…that woman no longer exists.  I cared about someone who had ceased to be…like holding onto a stem after all of the petals had dropped and still insisting on calling it a flower…it’s not a flower anymore…all of the good and beautiful parts that made it a flower have dropped away, one by one, leaving nothing but a barren stem, a sad reminder of what it once was.

For me, that was where the lesson lay, in the recognition that as we grow and as we change, not everyone changes for the better.  Some bloom and other wither and the wisdom lies in being able to see clearly enough to recognize the difference and have the strength of self-preservation to walk away from what used to be instead of trying to resurrect something that will never bloom again.

And that’s OK.  That is necessary.

I feel no need for vengeance; there is nothing to say.  There is no damage I could do that she has not done or is not in the process of doing to herself.

Is it sad? Sure it is.  But is it a tragedy? No.  The tragedy would be in convincing myself that a new bloom can come from an old stem and being disappointed when those petals never appear.  Life moves on.  Some people we move on with and others without and in the end, if we can look back and smile on what we had in the years before; regrets don’t factor in.

We’ve all had friends like that, the people who let us down time and time again.  For me, though the lesson was drilled into me repeatedly, it took seeing my husband attacked to finally get the damn point.  It’s time to let go of any hope of her ever being a good person.  Or healthy.   I don’t have to and nor should I put myself or those I love in the line of fire again.  She is now no more than someone who I used to know.

I still believe that some people and some friendships are worth fighting for…but now I also know that others, no matter the history, are not.  If she were to ever find herself at peace again and come around…maybe.  I’m not the type to close a door forever, but for now the handle is secure.

Oh, and if you’re wondering,  my husband and I had a great night after all.  We walked to a cute little place near the party.  We talked it out and ended up laughing and sharing more than we had in months.  We took other lessons from last night, too.  We made the best of it.  We are lucky people.  As some move out of our lives, others move further in.  Our friends that our children spent the evening with are a great example of that.  I know in them my trust is never misplaced.  My husband loves them.  As we fell asleep in each others arms he told me he was, despite it all, glad we had come.  This morning he told me he hopes that I feel for him what Glitter feels for her husband…and that he understands why she means so much to me.  I could not ask for more.

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