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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Broken Bridge

Let's face it, sometimes life just deals us some nasty detours. Stuff that we just were not prepared for...perhaps we were too busy to think about it or it was one of those things, like a sudden, unexpected death of a friend or loved one.

As I think about that now, it's strange but at those times of chaos, I was really good with handling those really big, unexpected crisis. I don't know why but I could just rise to the occasion when the sh*t hit the fan. But if it was an everyday crisis like some changes at work or one of my kids school activity times changed, I didn't deal well with it.

It is like the only way I could handle being a "functional alcoholic" was to have these super, rigid routines that I didn't stray from. And if something or someone upset one of MY routines...well I was a complete jerk about it. I just wasn't flexible or understanding that perhaps other folks had needs as well.

But if it was a true crisis, well I could get past that and I seemed to operate well under that kind of stress and strain. Perhaps because I was always dealing with the tragic, difficult issues of my past and I could relate to people feeling hurt. Then I was compassionate, then I could be understanding.

Those feelings of compassion have gotten even stronger for my fellow human beings now that I am sober and healing from my other issues. I just really seem to connect with people who have been really hurt, physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. I can only attribute that to the fact that I have been there, I know how lonely and isolated one can feel when they are really hurting inside and that compels me to reach out to them. I wish I could learn to be MORE understanding and more compassionate.

And I guess that isn't a bad way to feel is it? We can always use more compassion and understanding in the world. Life rarely goes as planned. Sometimes things are going smoothly, we are just cruising along in the journey of life when we get to a river (adversity) and wouldn't you know it, the bridge is out. So we have to make do. Often times when unexpected things happen to us it can seem at the time to be a much bigger deal then it really is.

Those are the times lately that I have really come to appreciate my friends. Because they are there when the unexpected things happen. And that is what I aspire to be, one of many things really: a true friend. And trust me, it isn't an easy task yet I have had some wonderful examples of true friendship demonstrated to me personally by my own friends. You know who you are, thank you!

But ultimately in my life, when I have days when the bridge is out, it is my friends that save me from myself. From blowing the little everyday inconveniences totally out of proportion. In certain ways I haven't really changed that much: I know what to do when the really bad stuff happens, like a couple of years ago when we almost lost my father to a raging infection nobody could figure out.

It is the smaller, yet still troubling everyday ups/downs that can really throw me for a loop, even today. I tend to look for that stuff happening in the lives of my friends and family today. Often they struggle with the same kinds of issues that I do.

That type of sensitivity to the needs of others is what I truly aspire too. It does not come easily for me, my nature is selfish to the core. But once in a great while progress is made and what a joy a little progress can bring...