Monday, October 1, 2012

Why we do this.

Tell me again why it is that some people sashay through life doing whatever the hell gratifies them while the rest of us work our butts off to do the right thing? Again, explain to me how human beings can be so very, very different such that one feels entitled to contribute little more than showing up at the end of the day? How can two animals of the same species perceive their responsibilities this way?

And the really crappy thing is that it doesn't start off like that. Nope, at the beginning everyone is mostly pulling their weight, but over the passage of years that small difference in perception, that unspoken sense of entitlement, that inherent belief that one is somehow special or better or not subject to the rules causes incremental shifts in the household until one day one partner is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, doing and doing and doing while their partner is out having a blast with paramours?!?!

Look, I know the reason is that the cheater has within him an injury that he is trying to heal with lovers, attention and the like. I GET IT. Now it's your turn. If all your training: school, vacation bible school, philosophy classes, the books you've read, the programs on NPR and public television, hell even Hollywood manages to basically convey the message that cheating is WRONG and HURTFUL and DESTRUCTIVE; if a lifetime of instruction into basic principles of morality didn't ping your radar that your behavior is (at a minimum) socially unaccepted, then what the hell is going to get through to you? Do you somehow think you're entitled to behave in a way that everyone agrees is atrocious? Is it not endemic to your human condition (and those who care for you) that you should, perhaps, investigate why you are behaving thusly? And to address it?

And stop managing it. I am sick to the point of exhaustion and despair with these NSN's thinking they can manage the fallout. You'll recognize "management" as compared to resolution of the problem by the tenacity with which things are grasped. Someone who is ready to resolve let's go...he releases his costume and pretending and says, ok...I let it all go because it was ruining my life and the life of those who care for me. Please help me find my way back to authenticity! This is where the old saying "The only way out is through" applies. The manager screams, "I don't want to lose my house/401(K)/job! I've worked hard! I've done many things right  and I shouldn't have to lose x, y or z!" Oh, ok. Because if you hold on to those things you've pulled it off, right? In the words of your leader, Charlie Sheen, "Winning!!!" 

Let me tip you off to something: you're alone on the field. No one else is playing your game, so when you sink the ball into that net, when you manage to hold on to your house or car or 50/50 custody of your children you have not won. Because while you're running down the field with arms raised to the sounds of cheers only you can hear, chanted by people who exist only in your fantasy, the rest of us are at home, living lives of humble devotion to our families. And it is beautiful.

We are dedicating our bodies, hearts and souls to their continuous refinement, so that we may offer to our fellow man something to ease his or her pain. That's what Jesus was doing when he washed his disciples feet. We attempt, through daily service, to extinguish our selfishness by acknowledging how very weak and flawed we are. And those who also practice this support us in our journey, help us laugh at our habits as they support us in leaving them. Or they cry with us. Sometimes they poke us with a sharp word to let us know we're getting out of line, because sometimes we need that, too. But it is done with love. Real, true love unsullied by pretending we're something we are not. And it is more fulfilling than anything else you could drink, eat or have sex with.

And for years NSN's will live as the beneficiary of this love. That's fine, it is freely given; no one is ever depleted by the love they give. We like doing it. But there are limits to what the human heart can tolerate. Nice Gals (and Guys) are so aware of their own flaws, so honest about them, that they are happy to accept flaws in another. But to be in relationships with someone in a genuine way means you, too, must also have surrendered the facade, stopped playing for the benefit of that damned pretend audience.

I've had reason to reflect on all this again, and it stinks. Only this time, naturally, I am aligned with the NSN. Sigh. Why does God have to be so clever? And generous.

I'm always struck by the fact that so many people are totally blind to Truth. Smart people. People I like, in a superficial sense. People I love. But that's why we're here. Maybe that's the purpose of my own pain. To be there as a guide, a translator, a friend. Maybe it's time I stopped being angry about it, and crossed over. I still wish to support and caution all those Nice Gals about NSN's, but maybe my real work is to be done with my own relationship to NSN's. The beloved community. No one heals until both sides are healed. It's certainly true that I have been as burned by my anger as any NSN. And I'm tired of the pain and all the stupid, destructive ways I have of (not) dealing with it.

I could literally kill the NSN's who hurt me and it wouldn't satisfy me. It would never be enough. So why bother? My life is too precious to waste on someone who is deaf, dumb and blind to themselves. I'm no crusader, but I can, perhaps, offer information when the situation warrants. In these relationships we have two people who have complementary life experiences that establish a situation that will result in the taking  advantage of one by another. We start the relationship utterly blind to the fact that this is the case. Even if we have an inkling as to the dynamic, we may be deceived as to which side of the equation we are on. I know I was. So when the event occurs it's like a bomb going off.

Preconceptions of personhood, roles, status and expectations of how the rest of our lives will play out are blown sky-high. And we're like Jackie Kennedy, collecting pieces of the destruction with the macabre hope of piecing Humpty Dumpty back together again. During that time what is needed is someone who has been there, who has some prajna on the situation. Maybe I could do that. And I can do it with gratitude because those actions are forcing me to take this last step toward healing. To the letting go of anger, to the final release of the binary, to discarding the right/wrong binoculars that I pretended I had put down but were firmly attached to my face. Thank you. I love you. I'm here. Always.

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