Friday, August 20, 2010

In Response to a Letter from a Life Long Friend

Dear J,

Betrayal is a hole blasted into our hearts that is impossible to totally repair.  the patchwork around the wound leaves scars that, every now again, feel as new and sore as the first days they ripped us open.  We are so human.  So fragile.  We were made to love and be loved.  But there is a certain kind of intense love, the kind where you lose your focus on everything except on the one you love, that is always devastating somewhere down the line.  It is like learning to live with a disability after a horrible accident.  We embrace how we were...not how we were forced to change.

It has been my experience that it is not anything we completely recover from.  It is not a "mind over matter" situation -- like going on a diet or giving up coffee.  It is a process of realizing the pain we feel has become part of who we are.   I believe the angst of it lessens over the years but truth of it (the reality of it) that no matter how long we live or  how beautiful our lives become, the wound continues to throb.  Memories are often like salt.  They rub our wounds and make us wince.  Our dignity comes with learning to live with our history.  I think it is more a matter of forgiving ourselves for being so dependent  on the person who caused the damage.  In betrayal there are only casualties.

Typically we either move on to perceived greener pastures or find ways to numb ourselves so we don't "make the  mistake" of feeling like that ever, ever again.   That's unfortunately how I handle it.  I grab a bag of cement and pour it around the wound.  "There", I say, "sealed up.  I don't want to ever go there again."  And before I know it, I am hard inside.  I move through my life like a beautiful, empty vase.  If I allow myself to be filled with flowers, they will just die anyway.  So what's the point?

Forgiveness is necessary.  That is a truth.  But we are vessels of finite material.  Our baggage, our fears, our infirmities, our self doubt, our flesh and mind are battered about from day one.  We must tell ourselves as often as every 5 minutes that we can walk through our disappointment with grace and kindness.  Let's face it, we are all of us broken and  patched 1,000's of times a year.

Being betrayed is devastating.  It is a movie with an automatic rewind button.  I say embrace the feelings that cause you pain.  Don't fear them any longer.  Face your hurt like a boxer.  Say, "bring it on."  This is no longer between you and your partner.  This is between you and you.

With any luck, we grow wiser as we grow older.

I love you,


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