When friends stop showing up, it’s not because they are not good people, it’s because they don’t know how to sit with you in your pain says Glennon Doyle.
We call it unconditional love.
As we age up in life we become acquainted with new arenas of suffering, like gladiators, we enter the stadium alone, unarmored, vulnerable. You look around and wonder where the hell is Russell Crowe?
I am not really into setbacks, hang nails, or snafu’s of any kind.
And now our friends are giving up bread, not drinking during the week, and fasting.
What the hell is going on here?
Is it me or is the planet rotating much faster then say thirty years ago?
I get up in the middle of the night and I’m actually dizzy? What I need is bread, butter, and single malt whiskey over ice. That’s right, I’m living on the edge, when I really should be afraid of heights.
All of a sudden I find myself lamenting about real or imagined pain instead of yammering about fashion trends and the Doobie Brothers. I used to laugh when my parents got together with friends and all they did was talk about their “issues.”
I don’t think this was what they meant when they say we’ve arrived?
What they don’t tell you is just when you crest the mountain, this troll with a linebacker complex takes you out, and you sort of free fall, bouncing off the jagged boulders, until you hit the canyon floor with an ugly splat. We call this aging?
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride! Hunter S. Thompson
Speaking of rides, I just got done with spin class, and believe me when I say I’m totally worn out, but nowhere near the, “Wow – what a ride” claim.
My body has major design flaws, I think it was an evolutionary bungle when we started walking upright, a small step for man, a huge step for chiropractors.
In fact my ears and eyes are underperforming as well.
“The brain cells that produce pain get better and better at producing pain.” Lorimer Moseley (what a loaded statement)
Just to be clear, I’m not a high maintenance person, I’m sensitive, it’s more of a spectrum issue, and that’s why I need what Glennon Doyle describes as an easy button. You know the ones they sell at Staples, something I can push when absolutely necessary, I’m sort of enamored with the idea. Aren’t you?
Aristotle says anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – and let me just say that’s my power.
Here’s what went down. Larry sent me a text, “we were charged $103 today for your gym membership.” (I suspended my membership over the summer, try not to judge, I was relaxing at the lake, and who can be two places at once?)
For context, I had my granddaughter with me, her school let’s out at 1:30 on Tuesdays, and they’re still trying to secure daycare. I have already gone to the grocery store twice, made play dough, shared my entire tiny box collection, and finally resurrected an old tea set. As Audrey spills water all over the kitchen floor I’m making a caprese salad.
I reply, “Yes, I’m back.”
He texts me back immediately with a very passive aggressive message, “so you’re planning on using the gym? I wasn’t sure?
I write, “duh,” I’m sort of busy mopping up the floor, shucking the corn, and slicing tomatoes, this seems self evident. I believe it’s more fun to talk with someone who uses short, easy words…like duh for example.
He is still in the dark, “Is that a yes?”
You can only push me so far and I go to the dark side. We have an Elk’s membership that is thirty yeas old. We never use it. I’ve been asking him to drop it for twenty-five years! So I say, “How about the Elks?”
Oh Nelly, I hit the hot button, he writes back, “why are you in such a bad mood. I’m just alerting you to this charge? WTF”
I start looking around for the easy button, Russell Crowe, maybe a rosary.
I write back, “I’m not in a mood at all, in fact Audrey and I are having a snack, she’s telling me about her day. I am fully aware the memberships starts up today and obviously I plan on using it. I assumed you understood duh as a word used to comment on a statement perceived as obvious? Guess not. Is cussing really necessary?”
All communication seises. As you know the word text come from texere, which means to weave, as in weave yourself into a corner.
The family arrives, Larry pulls into the drive, and we proceed with our “pleasant” dinner plans. We purposely avoid each other, with minimal communication, “pass the corn please.” I smile excessively just to be annoying.
This might be the underbelly of unconditional love.
As we’re waving good-bye to the children, standing side by side on the porch, watching the light from their car fade as they move down the street, I give him the look.
He says, “what?”
“You’re so good at being annoying.”
He smiles like I gave him the biggest compliment.
“I ordered an easy button from Staples, and when it’s lite up, all you do is open wine.”
I hear him laughing on the way to to the kitchen, he pours two small glasses, and motions me to follow him out to the patio. It’s finally cooling off and so are we.
We sit silently.
We call it unconditional love.
Where would you be right now
I went to spin class a few days later to qualify the “duh.”
And then I ordered an easy button just to be funny, okay annoying, and it’s adorable.
I’m Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, we’ll practice living on the edge.
- Things hurt more when you’re stressed or sad, and the increased pain makes you both stressed and sad. The way out of this vicious circle is a wholesale change to how you perceive fear, suffering and setbacks. Rob Heaton
- All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy. Scott Alexander (what does he know)
- To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult. Plutarch