Let No One be Left Behind

My previous post, Up One Rung, really started out to be about the following stuff. I decided the post was too long. So here is part two.

Having passed people-pleasing on the rung below me, I am now on a new rung. A new rung does present new challenges, however, I feel ready for this rung. For I saw this quality in myself some time ago and shared these thoughts with friends.

I shared with them how, ever since I was a little girl I wanted to save the world, yet my parents had to remind me twice a day to brush my teeth. I reminisced about friends who had “slipped into the trenches” and how, although my motive has been to help one out of one, after a while what I really found, was myself down in the trench with my friend. Not fully knowing how I wound up there or how to get out, one thing I did know – I could not just leave someone I care about, down in the trench.

And then, thank God, I had a great moment of growth.

Never before could I fathom the heartlessness required to be able to walk away from someone in the trench. Thank God I was wrong. For heartlessness is not what it takes for me to leave the trench. What I need is my own worthiness.

I gained worthiness by doing the right thing when the wrong seemed so much easier or profitable. I attained merit in my own mind when I stopped talking about other people’s woes. I am enjoying a life of self-esteem simply by doing esteemable things. And when you do this, I believe, it becomes impossible to remain down in the trench.

When I am worthy of stepping out of the trench and I know it in my heart, then what my friend does or does not do, is really not a factor for what I do. But when I am harboring hate, guilt or some other negative emotion, then my soul knows I am not worthy of stepping up. When this happens, it is much easier for me to say, “I can’t just leave my friend here in the trench!”

Today I can see that stepping up a rung on the ladder of life is not the same as leaving a friend behind. A friend who feels left behind, simply may not be ready for such work. Rest assured, my friend, I am not leaving you. Instead, I say, “Here’s my hand, holler when you need me.” I just hope you don’t let my arm stretch out too long.

Up One Rung

Most of my life, I thought that the secret to self-esteem lie in not caring about what other people think of me. That, and thinking highly of myself, were the ways to good mental health, or so I thought. Even after being told that I was wrong, I still remained convinced that the trick to getting over anxieties about what others might think, was to not care. Or at least act like it. But forcing myself to not care when I really did, created worse problems, causing me to set my site here to private. So if you got a message saying you do not have permission to access this blog, please know that it was not just you – it was everyone.

My seven faithful followers (as of 11.30.17) may remember my post about anxieties I experienced when I saw that people were reading my posts. While I have no way of knowing exactly who is reading (and if there is a way to know, I do not want to know), just knowing that someone is reading, really presented problems for me. When I saw the statistics, my heart would start racing and a sort of panic presented itself. I did not like this feeling and wanted it to stop, yet it did not.

All my wishing in the world did nothing to improve this. In fact, it sometimes made my anxiety worse. So I set my site to private and embarked on a mission to either give my fears merit or get over them, once and for all. I analyzed exactly what I was doing here and why I had this fear of what other people thought. This time I went about it differently, this time I prayed. And so far, this tactic has worked.

Today, I no longer concern myself with what people think of me. Neither do I try to fool myself into thinking that I do not care, for of course I care what other people think of me. The fact that it is none of my business, well that takes care of my caring. Just as it is no one else’s business what I think of another, what another thinks of me is none of mine.

And finally I feel free to be the me God intended for me to be. Finally, I can live with everyone not liking me. Finally I have moments of feeling happy, joyous and free, all at the same time even when life gets overwhelming. Finally, I feel like I am up one rung on the ladder of life. 



Saturday, In the Parker – Part Two

Exactly a month after Dave’s dad passed away, we were at his house, just Dave and I, on a Saturday night. Earlier that day, we had attended a celebration of life for Dave’s cousin, Peggy, then went to see the sunset when we “accidentally” wound up going over the bridge on to Sanibel. Since we were already there, we made the most out of our six dollars and drove down the island. We stopped at The Love Boat Ice Cream Shop where I ordered a Turtle Sundae and almost ate all three scoops by myself. It was the best ice cream.

So, back at the house after the six-dollar sunset, Dave was in the living room watching television and I in the master bedroom reading, when a lady walked right in and greeted us.

“Well hi there,” I heard a lady’s voice say just outside the bedroom door. I walked to the entryway where a lady who appeared to be in her 80’s stood in bare feet and a nightgown.

“Hi,” I said, walking toward her, “can I help you?”

“Yes, please,” she said, as she reached out to me. I came closer and she grabbed my arm. Instantly, the look on her face changed. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “He is so mean,” she said, and then started to cry.

Somewhat shocked, Dave and I both prompted her to tell us what was going on; who was she talking about? All we got was how he is so mean and says she can’t do anything right. The strong smell of alcohol coupled with the slur of her words spoke volumes to me. Of course, her choice of words – blaming her husband for all of her woes and ensuring her spot as the victim – prompted me to pray for her while at the same time, thanking God for removing such a mindset from me. While she was spinning it one way, I was seeing it another. I was seeing what I looked like just a little more than seven short years ago.

We let her go on, understanding ourselves that this had more to do with an insecure drunk woman than anything else. We asked her to come sit down and she refused. I wanted to get her a tissue but she did not see the need. “I’ll be fine,” she said, as she gripped my arm tightly with one hand and used the other to gather a fistful of her nightgown and wipe her face with it.

After a few more minutes, I suggested that we walk her home. “This is my home,” she said with assurance. “No… this was Gus’ home,” I said. She looked at me confused. I continued, “Did you know Gus? This was his home, and this is his son,” I said, motioning to Dave. She looked at Dave, threw her arms around him and busted out crying, “Oh, I loved Gus so much!”

A different kind of cry than when she originally appeared at the door, this unknown woman went on and on about how much she loved Dave’s dad and is going to miss him. I listened for clues to who this woman might be and where she lived. It had to be close.

Seeing a good opportunity to see if we can see her home, we walked out the front door, down the walkway, and onto the street. “I live over there,” the lady said, and pointed to a particular house. As we walked up the driveway, I said, “Oh, did you guys put up Christmas lights today?” “Well no,” she said, as it dawned on her that this was not her house. “Silly me, I mean, that’s where I live,” and she pointed next door. We cut across the yard and a dog started to bark. “Do you have a dog?” I inquired. “No,” she answered. “Well then that wouldn’t be your house either,” I informed her.

It was getting cold out. Dave and I decided we would take the woman back to his dad’s house while we figured out what to do. The three of us walked back down to the street where the woman abruptly said, “Shhh… someone’s coming,” and stopped walking. “Stay right here until they pass,” she instructed us, and then appeared as if she were trying to huddle into herself and roll-up into a ball.

“There you are,” bellowed the man walking toward us, “I have been looking all over for you!” It was the woman’s husband. Witnessing their back-and-forth was like a flashback of me carrying-on about anything I could to get attention off of me and my wrong doings. This man seemed to be sober and sincerely care about this woman. He pointed out to me their house and I walked the woman home while he and Dave stayed on the street and talked.

“How long have you two been married?” I asked her, as we walked up their driveway. She exclaimed, “Oh gosh, 60 years!” I took a big chance and said, “I’m sure he really loves you.” “Yes, I’m sure he does,” she replied, then turned to me, grabbed both of my arms and said, “I won’t remember this tomorrow, but I want you to come tell me.” I laughed and said, “Tell you what?” I did not really expect an answer, and she said, “Just come and say hi, promise me you will at least come and say hi.” “Okay, I will come and say hi,” I told her.

The next day, I walked by and she was sitting on her front porch. I said, “Hi.” She smiled and returned the gesture. “Beautiful day,” I exclaimed, as I carried onward with a wonderful walk around the neighborhood.