There's a restlessness gurgling inside me tonight........a churning stew of thoughts and emotions that isn't allowing me to drop my arms and body into the exhaustion it feels. It's like my insides are zipping around in a caffeine frenzy while the outside limbs feel weighted down unable to move with any kind of panache. This happens when I find myself at the end of a busy few days that have been wrought with undulating emotions.
up and down
up and down
Gee...........given that description, someone could easily slap a label on my forehead that yells out "bi-polar!"
I've heard many stories of late that have touched a deep chord. Pain has been poured out along with admissions, confessions, and painful pasts. In order to be able to listen and to be present, I must compartmentalize the stories so each one, and each person receives my undivided attention while I am with them. Normally the stories don't dwell too long. They can't or I would've burned out long ago. This time, perhaps because of a lot of "follow up" and phone calls have been required to make sure others are involved in helping and intervening when it was warranted, my insides remain restless.
I worry. I worry mostly about the innocents involved in the messes of adults' complicated lives......and it makes me wonder whether these little ones will EVER experience normalcy and untarnished love rather than the the love that dangles like a carrot in front of them.....within sight, but out of reach.
Lately, I have found myself getting angry inside listening to the stories from some of the adults. Knowing that the emotional lives of their own children have been manipulated and mangled so badly that they will never fully recover, I have felt a boiling surge of anger that wipes away the empathy I normally feel. It is striking a nerve and I've had to hold back my desire to recklessly point this out to the guilty adult sitting in my office pouring out their own pain. It's tempting, but completely counterproductive because if a partnership can be formed, more good can come out of it than if I decide to shut it down with loud judgements and finger pointing.
Human interaction and making strong connections in my world of work sometimes involves trying to understand another's crazy mixed up life.............trying to figure out has impacted and interfered with their decisions.
Why have they made the choices they have made?
Why did they decide to hook up with a known abuser?
Why have they ended up sitting in my office pouring out their admissions and confessions?
What is the reason behind the behaviour???
What has caused the really bad decisions?
Where have they come from and why are they so misguided?
Yearnings gone awry. We all have yearnings. Most of the time they are manageable and don't interfere. Sometimes however, because of the baggage we carry or the wounds we sustain along the way, we end up with big gaping holes in our souls which we fill with longings and yearnings that are so big that they scream at us to do something about it. Loneliness, pain, hurts, abandonment, grief, illness, sustained stress are all culprits which can easily turn our lives inside out because when they accompany the yearnings, they can suffocate our level headed thinking. Our actions may completely fly in the face of our own values and beliefs and yet we can't stop ourselves from falling into that paradoxical precipice. We don't even realize most of the time until it's too late that the actions we take not only affect us negatively, but can impact the lives of our loved ones. It could be blatantly obvious to others, while we remain oblivious to the consequences. Until some damage is done.
We are human beings whose lives intertwine and connect. It's what I try to remind myself when I am trying to walk a mile with someone whose behaviour hits a negative chord in me. If I bark out my judgement right away, I have more than likely shut down any chance to understand better but more importantly to help someone learn from their choices and consequences. And if I believe that what I do and say is intertwined with what others do and say, I must try to recognize when my own triggers are punched........
As Thomas Merton explains, "Only when we see ourselves in our true human context, as members of a race which is intended to be one organism and ‘one body,’ will we begin to understand the positive importance not only of the successes but of the failures and accidents in our lives. My successes are not my own. The way to them was prepared by others. The fruit of my labors is not my own: for I am preparing the way for the achievements of another. Nor are my failures my own. They may spring from failure of another, but they are also compensated for by another’s achievement. Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum total of my own achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures with the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time."
I think maybe I need to print that message out and tape it to my fridge for safe keeping and then go to bed. I'm tired, both inside and out.