When did it change?

In talking with a friend today I came to the realization that we seem to have forgotten how to be people of wholeness, or maybe I'm just longing for a little integrity.  I'm no saint, ask anyone who knows me well.  So keep in mind,  I'm not talking about this as anyone who has arrived, simply someone plugging along in the journey like everyone else.  But has anyone else noticed that we don't seem equipped to effectively, gracefully, and gently encounter one another in the midst of really difficult and painful stuff.  Think about it, we loose someone and our work tells us to feel free to take a week off, maybe two, but then sort of expects us to come back ready to hit the ground running.  When in reality, we're barely able to peel ourselves off the ground.  Or someone does something that hurts our feelings and we try and make amends, only to watch the relationship seep into a tenuous and uncomfortable one, if we're left with any semblance of a relationship at all. 

When did we forget how to navigate the ugly and uncomfortable stuff of life together?

I consider myself fortunate in many ways.  I have the kind of friends seen only in movies (even if they are often overtly cute, cheesy and goofy movies like the kind you find on the Hallmark channel).  When the excrement hits the proverbial fan, I reach out to the people who I love, and who love me most and they come, each in their own way.  They sit, eat, cry, or just be with me. But this doesn't seem to be the norm.  I feel like I keep hearing people narrate their lives as if their worlds are supposed to be squeaky, polished, and bacteria free.    Did we somehow buy into the illusion that we're supposed to have "perfect" and "happy" lives?

Life's messy, isn't it? 

I keep hoping I'll hear more stories about strife and difference that end well.  I keep hoping we can be the kind of deeply honest and real people that muddle through the most painful and goopy parts of life with a few well timed tears, perhaps some deep sighs and temple rubs, but in the end shaking hands, hell...maybe even with a hug.


  1. My lovely friend, you hit some nail on the head with this one. In the wake of everything that has happened to me, I've come to realize there are many, many different types of people and they all react to the "ugly stuff" in different ways. Some have frustrated and angered me to my very core but if there's one things I have learned, it's to appreciate, LOVE and cherish the people that address what has happened to me, listen to me talk about it and continue to ask how I'm doing.

    I could have done my own ethnographic study on how my friends, family and coworkers have addressed my tragedies. I've come to determine that how someone "navigates the ugly and uncomfortable stuff of life," to me, defines how comfortable a person is with themself. They don't fear an awkward situation or an unknown reaction because they're confident in their ability to handle it.

    Having experienced a lot of "ugly" lately, I've learned a lot about myself and how I want to steer myself in future situations.

  2. Life is, I think, supposed to be messy. But more and more people find it more confortable to insulate themselves in front of the telly, where you don't have to get dirty. After all, mess doesn't happen to people whose lives are sanitary.

    Or is it because were are so programmed by the consumer meme? Where life is defined by the next toy, the latest fashion, and the herbal nostrums that swore they'd take that extra ten pounds off my waistline. We've come to expect perfection, and so get angry and frustrated and withdrawn when it isn't.

    But thank goodness for messy friends! Where "messy" means "amazing and wonderful," for it means not just someone who is there to walk through the mess with you, but also someone you want to walk through theirs with. Someone who lets you be a Hallmark channel buddy.

    Maybe it's not that those sort are rarer and rarer. Maybe it's that no one wants to be vulnerable and take the first step into the muck. But I'd rather have but one friend who wears hip-waders, than fifty who won't risk their pedicure.


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