Archive for November 18, 2010

A Snack for the Spirit – “Indigestion”   4 comments

What does it mean — Keep my side of the street clean? Does it mean if your stuff blows over I have to sweep it away…Or do I build a fence on my side of the street to keep out your junk?

(Oh…That’s what boundaries do.)

I never had boundaries — my side of the street didn’t even have a house on it — the curb was the closest thing to a boundary I knew. I could sit on it. Let garbage collect in it – maybe find an exceptionally long cigarette butt that I could get a few drags off of if I found some dry matches. The rain would come, or the wind, and clean my side of the street.

The rain: Some misfortunate person who thought I deserved better. The wind: A family member or authority figure forcing me to change. That was years ago — long before I knew that I wasn’t alone on my side of the street.

Today the side of my street I live on is very well decorated.  It has a house, a fence, an unbroken sidewalk and a clean path that I step out onto each day – or invite others to join me on.

Today – Someone littered my side of the street in the form of an email.  What got my heart pounding was that I felt they were littering my partner’s side of the street also.

Why doesn’t she return my calls?” the person asked in an email referring to my partner whose mother died recently in an act of suicide.  The email further read, “There is a long historical tradition in mourning to acknowledge another’s thoughtfulness and showing up. From experience I can tell you with certainty that it helps the bereaved person just as much as creating a context for more intimate interaction with those who cared enough to show up.”

I immediately went into fight mode to defend my partner but had to step back and do some editing inside and out.

By the time I pressed the send button I had written: “Lisa is one of the most generous people I know… Give her grace considering the untraditional circumstances surrounding her mother’s death.”

I have discovered there is a fine line between taking care of me, i.e. – Keeping my side of the street clean – and standing up for others who I feel are wrongly accused.

I wanted to accuse my friend of insensitivity and self-righteousness but I knew that would only make things worse. Perhaps my friend only meant that reaching out would help Lisa – but that’s not how I saw it. The email was more like an e-nail that punctured the thin shell of my own unresolved grief and an innate impulse to protect.

I knew it — so I had to diffuse.  I talked about it in a safe place where people would listen and not give me their varied opinions.  I just needed to leave it somewhere – Feelings that made my heart race and would do no good for anyone until I could find peace again. Otherwise seeking to blame will eat me up and put cracks in my street – eventually eroding my fence and then my house…Me.

Posted November 18, 2010 by doreenbirdsell in Snacks for the Spirit

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