Not for the first time in my life has a crisis outweighed what could have been a heartbreaking experience for me.
Crisis outweighs Heartbreak.
A good friend, someone I considered up and in line with my best of friends, “broke up” with me.
He decided that our differences were too cavernous for his liking and he needed to distance himself from those differences.
The result: we are no longer buddies, we will no longer be hanging out, or catching up, or providing support for each other in times of joy or crisis.
I had surgery a few weeks ago for a broken and dislocated elbow and am in the painful recovery period. As I live alone, I am heavily reliant on the kindness and support of others to do even the smallest or simplest of things.
This is a time when you want to be able to call on those closest to you.
Being one-armed is difficult and sometimes the things I need help with are more intimate – such as hair washing, or bed making – and it is easier for me to ask someone I’m already comfortable with rather than those who I know less well.
My friend, or ex-friend I suppose would be the correct terminology here, had been unfashionably distant since the accident.
Though he reluctantly drove me to the hospital for surgery the day after the accident, and while I was grateful for the ride, that reluctance felt like a slap in the face at the time. Only for a moment, however, because the searing pain in my arm and the desire for one pain free moment was all my brain could compute. I had no room for anything else.
Then a few days after the surgery he asked to come over to talk. We were talking about the surgery and recovery, and then in a brief lull in our otherwise comfortable, companionable conversation, he became still, tall, rigid.
He stood like a sentinel on the precipice of a great battle. Arms folded across his chest, muscles flexed as though to protect from the anticipated retaliation.
Then he told me that he didn’t think we should hang out anymore and gave me his reasons.
I remained silent.
He repeated himself, and the words sounded rehearsed, each one a mirror of the ones already spoken, in the same order.
Still I remained silent, watching the anticipation of retribution wash through every quivering fibre of this person I Loved like family as he waited for the barrage of female hell-fire to spew from my mouth.
But that is not my way, has never been my way, and likely never will be.
His anticipation of a response that is not my nature was almost a greater slap than the ‘break up’ itself.
Perhaps he didn’t know me at all, or perhaps he was mistaking me for someone from his past.
There are moments in life where the choices are clear, tangible, they form in your mind so visibly you can feel them playing out, taking shape, begging to be physical form. Like two painted doorways just waiting to be opened.
My choices as I saw them were:
- To debate (no hell-fire!) – to talk this through, work out what the real problem was, to counter his concerns with discussion. A part of me wanted to do this, words formed on my tongue, and even as they did, I realised they were futile. His body language showed, he had decided, this was the end. And so the only option really was…
- To accept – to thank him for his time, thank him for the time we’d shared, and allow him to walk away, unscathed, and unhindered.
I choose door number two.
I thanked him for his time, and for all of the times we’d shared, and bid him adieu.
Checking myself when I closed the door behind him, I realised I was OK. No breaking heart, no tears, no regrets. I would miss our adventures together, but I was OK.
Many days have passed since his bombshell and I’m still OK.
My focus on the more immediate crisis of pain management and on staying positive meant his words, his presence, became just another little blip in my day.
I had no room for grief about a friendship that has run its course.
Had I not been in crisis – I would have been DEVASTATED.
And isn’t that amazing timing?! I am so grateful.
He apologised about the timing during his spiel.
But I would have to say it was the perfect timing. There could have been none better.
My personal crisis has allowed me to look at this as a blessing rather than heartbreak.
Due to my attention to healing, I’m able to see clearly that I don’t need people in my life who don’t value and appreciate me for all that I am – differences included.
And so I can “skip to the end” and rejoice in the wonderful experiences we shared, rejoice in the growth that happened for me as a part of our friendship (and part of the exploration of our differences!), and accept that this was a seasonal friendship that has reached the finish line.
Season, Reason, or Lifetime. Right?!
Had I not had another focus, this “break up” would have become my focus and I would have gone through a time of grief to get to the gratitude for the experience. I might have even chosen door number one and tried to talk him round to remaining friends.
There is certain clarity in it.
It brings us back to the basics, helps us stay in the here and now.
My focus in this crisis is healing, pain management, movement, and learning to do things differently so that I can become as independent as possible once again.
I have no room for anything else and as a result, I’m filled with a clearer perspective on life.
There is a certain freedom in it.
I can see clearly that the freedom comes from the focus. When there is something that we’re focused on acutely then nothing else shakes our foundation.
Focus is important. Focus, perhaps, is everything.
Then question becomes: How do I change my focus so my foundation is always so unshakeable, without needing a crisis?
Good question. May the answer immediately take hold in my heart and mind.
His choice is just that, his choice.
My choice is always how I respond: with respect, acceptance, and Love; or with the vengeance of the spurned.
I believe in a person’s right to be who they have to be and to choose what is right for them, always.
I would not wish for anyone to feel forced or obligated to be a part of my life, and I would not choose to surround myself with those who are not willing in their presence.
So it is with Love for the experiences we’ve had, respect for his choice, and acceptance of the situation that I move easily, even lightly, through this moment.
I am better for it.
Respect, acceptance, and Love, is my choice. And I hope that it always will be.
There is dignity in it.
My own personal crisis with the recovery from surgery helped me get to this place sooner; without doubt. Though there is also no doubt I would have arrived eventually.
Crisis outweighs all else and brings a sense of clarity that may not be as rapid without it.
The key will be to take this lesson from the crisis, and find the same focus through something positive and life-giving when I am fully healed. May this key find me swiftly and never again leave my senses!
How about you, have you found that a crisis in your life helped lessen the blow of another such “crisis” in your life?
Warm smiles and Love,