Ever notice, especially in today’s age with social media such as Facebook, email, texting, yada yada yada, how you can feel isolated even when you are surrounded by hundreds of friends? We have all felt the abrupt silence echoing from our computer screen once someone has turned on their "off” button to us haven’t we? It’s much like real life as I like to call it when you notice both your phone and door bell has stopped ringing. Maybe you have turned on your computer one morning to a “holy cow” kind of take you by surprise moment, an aversion to your point of view or excitement over key details in your life has taken root and all of a sudden you have been brought you to a halt, scratching your head in dismay. I don’t know about you but several times throughout my journey I have felt I could literally look behind me emotionally and actually see the skid marks from where the breaks were applied to my enthusiasm.
Personally I love the whole super market scene when you are directly in front of someone but somehow they missed the fact it’s your feet they have tripped over? The same goes for facebook and all the other quicker than quick, lightening fast outlets which let you respond to all your family and friends in one compact spot. We have all adapted, learned to read through the lines, or lack of and in just one texted word, we know if someone is unhappy, cross with us or missing in action. So when there is a sudden silence or an abrupt decision to stop responding over and over again, if you or someone else is quick to chat with everyone else but one person under “the list” of comments, it’s pretty clear you or they are avoiding them right?
Well not always, because we cannot know what is truly going on in someone’s life until we stop and make ourselves a part of each other’s world. To really answer the question you have to be willing to admit everything is not always as it seems. How can you tell, well sometimes the truth is you can’t. It’s so easy with all the technical assistance we have at our finger tips to masquerade, yet avoid buying one on one real personal stock in one another. Honestly we rarely do more than dance around one other’s lives. I agree there is a mental button we do turn off from time to time, but must we do so all the time? We have all been there, and asked ourselves how “those” we are feeling separated from do not understand how, as in real life, we can tell, can read through the lines coming to the slightly lope sided conclusion we have been cut out of any exclusive one on one contact. The only problem is we do not always put ourselves in the very same shoes, how we do the same without ever meaning to hurt anyone.
Now, I can tell you from firsthand experience it’s not easy being ‘The One’, ignored, but sometimes it’s not for the reasons you might think. Maybe it’s because your illness scares some, maybe it’s due to their own fear of losing you, or because they are overwhelmed by the whirlwind surrounding your life and they just don’t have the words to really express how they feel yet. Is it ever as easy 1-2-3, no, but it does get easier to recognize if someone’s silence is personal or not and to get past the whole, you have abandoned me thing to be honest. I for one have had to learn not to take it so personally. Does that make it any easier to swallow, no not really? It still hurts, get’s chocked up in my throat, still causes me to stop and do some soul searching, asking myself what did I do, or maybe it was what I didn’t do or simply it has nothing to do with me at all. Honestly, maybe it’s more about being the escape goat and realizing you just have to keep your chin up. Or more honestly maybe it has to do with the struggles your own friends or family may be going through at the moment.
I have had several conversations around this issue during the last week with friends and family. How to deal with or how not to over react when you feel pushed away. Whatever the reason, feelings get hurt, but it isn’t always a personal, yank your pig tails kind of brawl. In fact it may not even be anything as close to an ordeal as all that if you want to be completely honest. It’s very possible you’ve found yourself caught in an emotional bear trap, and you just have to wait for the cavalry to come spring you lose! The thing is this: it’s not always easy to know what to say and then you can bet your bottom dollar it may not be enough or it may be too much or simply not what they need to hear right there and then. I for one like many of you have been the reason for everyone’s dismay a time or two in my life. Maybe it’s because I did not do something, give up something someone else thought I should have. Maybe I am unable to live up to the standard anymore, maybe I am living too far above the standard or maybe it’s more about how those few see life in the moment. Honestly it’s all speculation until you have a real, hallelujah, come to Jesus meeting with those you love. Sometimes things go back to normal, sometimes they just take time and sometimes they never seem to see you clearly again. However it goes, I am here to tell you not to take it personally.
OK this isn’t the easiest advice to take standing up or sitting down I know. On a good day I have it in my back pocket, on a bad day, it’s gone with the wind. Either way, I am learning to come to terms with living life imperfectly. Life is complicated to say the very least. Nothing about it is ever easy, and if it is, RUN! I mean it ,run as fast as you can, as far away as you can and keep going till you reach the intersection of complicated and interesting. Why? Well because life’s not meant to be a walk in the park, though the truth is we are meant to stop and enjoy, smelling the roses from time to time. But when it comes to adversity, struggle or illness life will throw you some pretty crazy pitches. You can chose to either grab your mitt and catch the ball life throws your way or you can just stand there and get hit in the face. The choice is yours; catch the ball or get hit in the face… seems pretty simple enough huh? Well the thing about it is you can grab your mitt and still get hit in the face anytime if you miss, right? Again life is all about perception and sometimes it’s not as clear cut as it may appear to you.
So the next time you feel put out, have your feeling bent a little bit out of shape, I challenge you to step back for a second and grab hold of your mitt. It may turn out the way you hoped, or completely the opposite of how you planned it would but in the end you didn’t just give up or give in. You may still end up with a nice big shiner on your face but you will know you tried right? So you might as well just smile and get back out there. Take it from me, life can get complicated, but a quote I try to live by sums it up best, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase. - Martin Luther King, Jr.