These past couple of weeks I’ve been working through some stuff. I discovered that a friend had died last year; then I discovered that he’d committed suicide; then my husband’s brother’s best friend died last weekend (had a heart condition and didn’t wake up); was talking to a friend at work and she was telling me about 2 friends of hers, brothers of 17 and 19 that were in hospital after a car accident (they’d hit a tree) so I thought speed was involved and wondered if alcohol and/or drugs had also had an impact – well speed was certainly a factor it turned out. She told me this on Tuesday morning – both brothers in critical condition with the elder brother (the driver) not expected to live. That night he died – she came to work the next day and was a mess. She’s only 19 herself and I guess this is the first friend of her age who’s died. She went home and cried for several days. On Thursday evening I caught up with an old friend, we’d been drinking buddies from way back, and he shared with me about how tough this year has been for him. He lives on his own in a neighbourhood where I also lived alone (before I met my husband) and we are pretty honest with each other. He was telling me about how depressed he’s been this year, about a boss who bullied him, about drinking most nights, not looking after himself, not taking his drugs, not doing any housework…
And I’ve been thinking – Graham died and I didn’t know. Phil is depressed and I DO know. I could help – or at least provide a helping hand. And if that means he has less reason or inclination to commit suicide, then it’s worth the effort.
For the past 4 – 5 months my house has not been really clean. I started the gardening business and was too tired to clean after I’d gardened (or – I didn’t care enough to do housework when I got home after gardening) – so my husband did the washing and tidied the kitchen most days. I haven’t done much in the way of housework for months.
Mid June my doctor said said he thought I might have had a TIA (mini-stroke) and initiated some tests at our local hospital and advised me I wasn’t to drive for the next 30 days. Thus postponing may gardening (that I drove to) and imposing a 4 week rest period. All in all not a bad thing as I had already decided I had been working too hard. I took a break from gardening – which was good for my body. Being a girl who likes to achieve things, I started making cot quilts instead (which I do during the winter sometimes) and managed to make about 6 cot quilts that I am planning to give away to needy families (through Women’s Refuge or church groups or similar – as long as they are not sold, and end up with families in need).
Now here I am, feeling like I really should return to gardening – and thinking about the deaths of people I know, thinking about suicide and my own encounters in the past – and not wanting anyone I know to have to experience the same despair and horrible desperation that I’ve felt in the past…
This morning I started cleaning my home – just a few rooms – the bathroom, toilet and my bedroom – a mini-spring clean. It was a start. It was an effort that I hadn’t made for a long time but it was enough. A step in the right direction.
And I’ve been thinking about my friend Phil’s house – about offering to help him make things clean and tidy again. I know what it’s like to live on your own, to feel depressed, to feel like you don’t really matter in many people’s lives, to use alcohol as a way of numbing the pain… and I want to help him because it’s a little something that I can do for someone that’s not me. It’s a way to provide support and encouragement to someone else, a way of giving to another, of supporting another, of being their for someone else.
And (as I stated earlier) if this means Phil has less inclination to end his life, or has more motivation to … do anything (cook, clean, garden – anything) then maybe that’s worth it.
I want to believe I had an opportunity and I took it – for all the right reasons – regardless of the outcome. I tried. I cared. I did something….
Then maybe that’s enough.
I’m not responsible for Phil’s decisions, his choices, his outlook – but if I can be a friend in the best way I know how, then maybe that’s enough.
And if it’s not enough, then I will know that I tried. I did something. I tried to make his life just that little bit easier when he was depressed and not motivated because I’ve known that depression and lack of motivation.
I want to know that I tried. If nothing else, I tried. I tried to be the friend that he needed me to be; the friend that listened and didn’t judge; the friend that was there and tried to make life just a little easier. The friend that cared enough to do something… because if nothing else, she cared.
I love this! It seems to me that forgiveness is ALWAYS the right choice.
I’m not suggesting we forget necessarily but I am suggesting we forgive – for our own sake if not that of others. And I know I keep saying it – but if I want to be forgiven, I must learn to forgive. Like many things in life forgiveness is a two way street! And the bonus of forgiving another person – YOU get peace!
Unfortunately, sometimes forgiveness is not just a one-off choice but more of an ongoing process. If you’ve been really badly hurt, you might make the choice to forgive the person who has caused you so much pain. Then the next day you realise that you have to make the same decision to forgive them all over again. Just as loving someone is an ongoing choice, so too forgiveness can be an ongoing choice. And maybe all you can do is forgive what you can right now, knowing that you may have to choose to do it again in an hour’s time, or tomorrow, next week or next month.
If I fell and grazed my knee, my body doesn’t heal itself instantaneously (even if I want it to). It takes time for the white blood cells to form a seal over the injury in order to protect the body. And just as it takes time for a scab to form and for the physical injury to heal itself, so other types of hurt and pain can also take time to heal too. We don’t heal in an instant; healing is on ongoing process. So too forgiveness can become an ongoing process. Not everything in life is “one and done” – you make a decision and suddenly you’re facing the consequences. Some decisions, like love and forgiveness, can be ongoing choices that we need to make over and over and over again. And all you can do (even in the midst of that pain) is to make the best decision you can at any given time. And that’s all any of us can do. So don’t beat yourself up if you find you have to forgive the same person for the same thing more than once – because forgiveness, like love and healing, can take time.
I wish you peace.
Some days I think we just need to give ourselves a break! Some days we might not have the energy or the motivation or the time to do the things that we think we ought to do. And some days that’s ok.
Some days what I’m capable of might not seem like much, and maybe it’s not. And on those days I use the motto “All I can do is all I can do.” And some days that has to be enough.
We’re allowed to take time out to rest, or to play, or to work in the garden, or to NOT work in the garden. Some days we just need a little time – it might be a little time for ourselves, or time with a friend; time to read or to play, to relax or to sleep. Whatever you feel like you need – it’s ok.
Be kind to YOU.
“Go easy on yourself. Whatever you do today, let it be enough.”