Just yesterday I got an opportunity to meet a friend in Maui, all expenses paid. * Ask me if I took the offer?* (Duh!) I packed my backpack, then proceeded to coax and cajole my battered bug along the Kamehameha Highway…heart excited and bent towards the promise of a fun-packed, carefree weekend getaway. I arrived and met my friend.
Memory lane was traversed….in actuality, it seems more like ‘skipping’ would describe our chosen state of mind/ mode of transportation into the path of our pasts. The short, inter-island flight literally (and figuratively) flew by as we caught one another up on present day shenanigans and what-nots.
I soon realized, however, that underneath this peaceful and poised exterior, there lied a pained and bleeding spirit. After several hours of conversation *and just as many (okay, if not more) glasses of wine,* I had heard the full story. I had gone over in minute detail the plot that pained my friend so much. I felt I had met them there, had practically memorized the sorrow-filled script that had brought them to the islands in search of an escape.
My initial instinct when I see friends in pain is to want to fix it…to make that pain stop…to obliterate any hardship and suffering from their entire sphere of being. Yet I remembered something that a friend had shared with me in my past emotional purgatories. I remember I was in the middle of a breakdown * tears, Kleenex, runny nose, asthmatic wheezing, blithering…(you get the picture)*. I mean, I was really going at it, letting myself ‘speak truth’, allowing free reign to fully ‘FEEL these feelings’ and giving myself permission to ‘release them’ * oh, with gusto! * As I looked up, naively expectant of being greeted with sighs of sympathy, a heart melted, and a compassionate countenance, I was instead met with a fixed, expressionless stare (straight through the core of me did her eyes slice,) and a bold, monotone: “Well, that does suck Andy…SO NOW WHAT?”
As this flashback reverberated in my brain, the remembrance of its healing (albeit shocking) quality (and my reluctant acceptance of this reality of responsibility to move towards positive action) bolstered me towards my own brash move…
I repeated this same question to my friend. The scene played out in response was eerily familiar. I received the same shocked silence....followed by that momentary mulling of the mind (I imagined a spout of steam tufting through earlobes as I waited)…the sharp intake of breath (I believe as the pain of hearing hard truth is processed and compartmentalized)…the exhale of realization/ resignation/ acceptance of the reality that is…and then…then… the eyes raised to meet my gaze (as if my own mirror). To meet me here (wherever “here” is)…to look that daunting question square in the eye:
We don’t usually know right away. I sure as hell don’t have the answers…but I do know that there is always room for this question…with every breath…in every moment…a challenge for growth, a spur towards change… a catalyst championing forward motion.
I head home today, back to the life I love. I am happy and hopeful…yet have a newfound awareness….
I am responsible.
I go now...the next what awaits~