Friday, October 23, 2009

Betrayal

"It doesn't interest me how old you are.

I want to know
if you will risk looking like a fool
for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive..."

We often look for someone we can trust more than we trust ourselves. Perhaps this is because we know how often we betray ourselves. It is uncomfortable when someone perceives us as breaking faith with past promises. Yet, if we live fully, it is inevitable that this will sometimes happen, because change is inevitable, and commitments, if they are to remain vital, must be remade and renewed.

Often we protect ourselves from the knowledge of broken promises by pretending that nothing has changed. We betray ourselves when we deny the change that terrifies us, when we maintain the external illusion that all remains the same. If someone names the betrayal, everything begins to unravel. When our denial of what has happened is so deep as to seem complete, the shock of revelation is overwhelming. We feel broadsided, stunned, broken. I feel a bit this way now.

When we acknowledge betrayal and take responsibility for our decisions to break agreements, for our knowledge that someone has broken an agreement with us, we ache with the anticipated loss of innocence. To trust again, we must be willing to face the shadow of innocence - the deliberate naivete that clings to denial and rejects the truth as too hard.

If we cannot live with our need to renew agreements we have made, we break the only promise we really owe each other - to be truthful. This means finding both the courage to be truthful with ourselves and a way to live with how our actions affect others, even when there is no ill intent and no one to blame.

When an agreement that is important to us is broken, we feel hurt and angry. And, if the agreement is broken but we or others pretend that it has not been violated, we learn to distrust ourselves or those others when the truth is revealed. The real damage of betrayal is in the lies we tell one another and ourselves, the lies that cause us to lose faith in our ability to recognize and act on the truth.

Part of being trustworthy is being able to recognize when our perceptions and judgements are untrustworthy and to cultivate a community that can support and guide us in those times. I'm learning to do that now.

Jesus had one of his closest friends betray him. Judas was his name. He was chosen by God to be one of Jesus' dicsiples. When Judas kisses Jesus, it signifies one of the great betrayals of all time. What is most interesting is Jesus' reaction. In Matthew's account, he simply tells him to do what he needs to do. He accepts the betrayal as the done deal that it was. He betrayed Jesus in such a deep way and in the end, Judas hung himself out of the guilt he felt for what he had done (Matthew 27).

"While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him. Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." Matthew 26:47-50

Yet, Jesus forgave him.

It's times when we are betrayed by someone we trusted that we look to our own spirit for Truth. Part of betrayal is offering forgiveness, but if you're on the other side of it, it's also asking to be forgiven. Once forgiveness is requested, trust can become restored. However, it's up to us if we want to leave things undone, and we ruin your own blessings for years to come when things are left unsettled.

Being truthful with the people we've hurt is so important. So, risk looking like a fool... ask for forgiveness so that someone else's innocence of learning to trust can be restored.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Waiting Room

If you've ever been in a waiting room, you know that you have the opportunity to observe people's lives in such a different way than one would normally have access to. Some of the most intimate things are revealed to people that you probably would normally not hear or know while waiting for someone.

I've been in a few waiting rooms in my life. Most recently, I was in an Emergency Room waiting room in Memphis, TN for an incident that happened late September this year.

Here is a poem about what I observed, heard, and saw while waiting.

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The Waiting Room

Two lives. Intermingled yet separate.
One is carefree and ready, the other is bound by barbed wire.

Two chairs. At the same table, but only one can be sat in.
One is brown, the other red.

Two dates. One sooner, one later.
One chose the earlier date because the other was too long to wait.

Two airline tickets. Same destination, different departure.
One made it on the airplane, the other only made it to the airport.

Two feelings. One is excited, the other is upset.
One knows this because of the detailed information the Delta representative told her.

Two nights. Time to be spent together.
Instead, it was spent alone. Alone.

Two ways of getting in touch. A gesture of respect at least.
Neither were used as of yet.

Two people. One city was the plan.
Instead, two cities, still apart.

Two lives. Undeniable attraction. Yet somehow, denied.

"Why make it to the airport and not get on the airplane?" one questioned.

"Why book another flight and not take it?" another asked.

"I waited in the room for you," one said. "For hours into the night. And yet I still wait for that date, that ticket, those feelings, those nights, and that city to take place and be rescheduled in the near future. I hope you reconsider what could be. I hope you'll reconsider taking the next step."

"I want you in my life. Don't leave me."

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The things you observe in a Waiting Room...


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Musings of Incense

That smell of sandlewood incense takes me back to a place I remember well. A place where life was exactly as I wanted it to be. I was carefree, happy, and in love with all I did and everyone I encountered. That smell quickly takes me back to that time and place. The place is that enchanted forest in the canyon called Yosemite.


During times where I need to escape, I burn this incense. And listen to music. And I’m burning it now. Be careful. The house may burn down.


My mind and heart are in a very contemplative state right now that leaves me questioning during this moment of stillness tonight. So, I burn incense. Not as a way to escape this time, but as a way to focus. To hone in on capturing these feelings in journal format.


There is so much that seems so unreal about my life at the moment. So much that I thought would never be possible. Surreal moments. Moments when I have to pinch myself and soak in every drop so that when the moment is over, I can reflect back on its goodness. Life is good right now. I remember the days when I was younger wishing to be “someone” that people could look up to and say “I knew her when…”. I guess I am that person now, though I say it with some hesitancy. I really don't feel as if I'm anyone really, but people seem to think I am.


I'm just me.


I don’t ever want to be satisfied or feel I’ve reached the top. There will always be another mountain to climb, another path to cross, and another dream to make come true. There is a saying that says, “Don’t let your success get to your head or your failures get to your heart.” Though I believe each of those statements individually, I don’t agree with them when together. To me, that means one should be complacent. That is not me. I live for the moment and plan for the future. I capture each day as though it is my last, because I’ve been there before. I've been to that day where it was almost my last. I don’t want to ever say, “I shoulda, woulda, coulda…” Just do it, as Nike would say.


But yet, I still don’t feel complete. There are still a few things that are missing in my life that I desperately yearn for. This weekend, I have the opportunity to potentially begin pursuing one of those dreams. But, it may be another dead end road that I've been traveling down for the past two years.


So, I burn incense to hopefully take me to a place to focus. And yes, probably to escape to the reality I’m hoping for. The feeling of again being carefree, of being loved, and of being adventurous. I want to be reminded of who I am and what I really, really want.


In Bible times, burning incense was used during prayer time to symbolize prayers as one visually watched the smoke (prayers) being sent and lifted to heaven.


I pray this prayer reaches heaven.