Yesterday, a friend called me, desperate, sad, upset, again, over something she has been desperate, sad, upset about many times in the past two years. When I got on the phone, so many aspects of myself went into gear. There was the part that wanted to fix things. I had practical solutions for the pain: get up, go work out, take a shower, I told her. You will feel better and then you can think about what to do.
This is probably a very male part of me, the part that is strong, the part that wants to fix things without truly delving into the problem (of course, this problem and I are old, old friends, so I don't really have to know it well). I guess I don't mean the male part as much as the yang part of me. Maybe this is annoying, being told what to do, but action has always remedied my bad feelings. Moving rather than wallowing is my motto.
Then the part of me that has to listen stepped up, shut down the yang. The yin stepped in, listened, again, to the story. I can barely allow this part in sometimes, so eager am I to fix everything. But I heard the story, how it occurred, what was said, who said what to whom and how.
Then there's the part who defended my friend, attacked the problem, the things that cause the problem. I was SO on her side in just about all aspects. I was sick and tired of the other side's "issues" and "crap," god dammit.
Then I got tired and slightly angry that I was still talking about this after two long years. Why doesn't she listen to me? Why is she stuck in her groove? She's so smart, so talented, so wonderful, this should not be the case.
And then we go through the whole loop once or maybe twice more.
To me, this is what we have to do for each other. I don't have a friend who hasn't called me in some kind of desperation, who hasn't taken more ladle fulls of water out of the bucket for a while. The good news is that when I've been in my friend's position, I've ladled out bucketfuls of water for long periods of time. The even better news is that I have friends who will tolerate that, will listen, will stay in the loop as long as is needed. For about four years recently, I was well over my water quota. In fact, it's a miracle rationing wasn't implemented because of me. Don't look to the sky--I am the cause of the drought.
Relationships aren't easy, even the ones that should be. I've never met a relationship without blips. The ones that seem to be so easy, to me, aren't deep.
Now, I love to have the friends with whom I do nothing but an activity and have no connection but that. I used to play team tennis and had friends with whom I'd swat a ball with only. We'd meet, beat up a ball, and go home. I have had walking friends, running friends, parent-activity friends related to kids' school activities.
But these aren't friends in the sense that in my dark hour of the soul I could call, weep into the phone, and know that they wouldn't leave me there holding a tennis racket.
Just before writing this blog, I text messaged my friend, checking in, making sure she was all right. And if I am asked, I will listen later to the story all over again because lord knows soon enough, it will be my turn to call.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org