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I am grieved

May 19, 2009

My friends are in pain. I can see everyone’s point of view, and everyone involved has a valid point at some level. Feelings have been hurt on all sides, communication has broken down and love has been lost.

I’m already feeling sad and depressed about a mountain of my own stupid and inane bull shit related to the harms and wrongs I’ve caused people whom I love, and this isn’t helping my mood one bit.

Expectations get us into so much trouble – yours, mine, theirs. Especially when we realize or think we realize, that we’ve been operating under false ones – disabused of the notion of playing on a level field, so to speak. Then the trouble really starts.

I’m reading Middlemarch, and here is what George Elliot has to say on the subject of our friends, our expectations, and the general nature of faults, which assuredly I see reflected back in on myself:

…and there were both virtues and faults capable of shrinking or expanding. The faults will not, I hope, be a reason for the withdrawal of your interest in him. Among our valued friends is there not some one or other who is a little too self-confident and disdainful, whose distinguished mind is a little spotted with commonness, who is a little pinched here and protuberant there with native prejudices, or whose better energies are liable to lapse down the wrong channel under the influence of transient solicitations?…The particular faults from which these delicate generalities are distilled have distinguishable physiognomies, diction, accent and grimaces, filling up parts in various dramas. Our vanities differ as our noses do, all conceit is not the same conceit but varies in correspondence with the minutiae of mental make in which one of us differs from the other.

Maybe this quote has nothing to do with anything. I don’t know.

All I know is it jumped out and stuck itself into my head and heart, hanging itself right next to the place where all this stuff is hurting me.

We are all often operating from such wounded places, and we strike out from the pain of our wounds, blinded to all else. Thought totally supersedes feeling yeilding pure adrenaline driven reaction.

We are human. We’ve all been in that place. Been rubbed just the wrong way, at just the right time, with truly painful results. Letting our expectations lead us, jumping to conclusions without first examining them under the light, more often without stopping to examine them at all.

We’ve all let our more base nature get the better of us in the heat of the moment.

And upon reflection, at least for me, it only gets uglier. The if only’s start. The wincing at the behavior and words reflected back at me; the regret, that I didn’t take a little more time and a little more care to figure out what might really be going on. Even when I’ve been right or justified in such reactions, I’ve found it of cold comfort in those moments. A niggardly little trophy at best. (I’m speaking more to my own transgressions here – I don’t claim to know what is in the heart or minds of my friends…)

I’m praying for healing among the hearts of my friends, and in turn, for healing in my own heart, for my own hurts, as I lick my own wounds, and contemplate the results of my own behaviors.


16 Comments leave one →
  1. seashellseller permalink
    May 19, 2009 12:01 pm

    So right Eileen — thanks.

  2. klady permalink
    May 19, 2009 2:26 pm

    This is beautiful, as well as sad, as it should be. And Middlemarch — a great thing to be reading.

  3. May 19, 2009 3:26 pm

    ¨I’m praying for healing among the hearts of my friends, and in turn, for healing in my own heart, for my own hurts, as I lick my own wounds, and contemplate the results of my own behaviors.¨

    Exactly. Thank you.

  4. May 19, 2009 3:49 pm

    So true … With you in heart.

  5. May 19, 2009 5:04 pm

    Thank you, Eileen. Heartfelt and apt. Yes, you. The quote, yes, but chosen by you, and with your words around it. Bless you. Now go and be nice to yourself, and then do it again.

  6. johnieb permalink
    May 19, 2009 6:32 pm

    Beautiful and sad. And, in this friend’s case, timely. You have helped me on many occasions, and have never hurt me.

    I second Jane R.’s “Bless you. Now go and be nice to yourself, and then do it again.”


  7. May 19, 2009 7:27 pm

    I’ve been missing you – too bogged down in my own concerns. Prayers and hugs for you. Much is better here for me. And, I do like Merton’s prayer you keep in your corner!

  8. May 19, 2009 7:40 pm

    I could have written this. This whole mess was too familiar. Even when I know I was right, my actions were wrong. When you try to adjust your expectations, it’s not always possible. We may not ever be forgiven by the person we harmed, God has forgiven us and we need to forgive ourselves. For me, that’s the hardest. Try not to dwell on “the results of your own behavior”, it’s not healthy. How does it go? Remorse, repent, repair and reform? And I might add, move on. I will if you will.

    Prayers for healing for all involved.

  9. May 19, 2009 11:58 pm

    Peace to you, sister.


  10. Holly permalink
    May 20, 2009 10:17 am

    Oh, me too, Eileen.

    I’ve been stunned by this eruption among the dear circle of Anglican bloggers. For years now I have checked in daily, here and there, and have come to think of many (including you) as friends I haven’t yet met. It saddens me that my not-yet-met friends have dealt with one another so bitterly, but I have no intention of taking sides. I still hold them dear and will pray for all.

  11. susankay permalink
    May 20, 2009 2:42 pm

    If I would remember to pray for friends rather than try to “fix” them, both they and I would be in a far better place.

    Thanks so much for this post.

  12. Sherry permalink
    May 20, 2009 4:23 pm

    Alas we are all too busy pontificating on the motes in others eyes to see the huge log in our own. We all need to think more and speak less. We harm so many and do it most often without thinking. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.

  13. susan s. permalink
    May 20, 2009 11:34 pm

    Thanks, Eileen.

  14. May 21, 2009 10:07 pm

    There is also this from the conclusion of “The Mill on the Floss”:

    “NATURE repairs her ravages – repairs them with her sunshine, and with human labour. The desolation wrought by that flood, had left little visible trace on the face of the earth, five years after. The fifth autumn was rich in golden corn-stacks, rising in thick clusters among the distant hedgerows; the wharves and warehouses on the Floss were busy again, with echoes of eager voices, with hopeful lading and unlading.

    “And every man and woman mentioned in this history was still living – except those whose end we know.

    “Nature repairs her ravages – but not all. The uptorn trees are not rooted again – the parted hills are left scarred: if there is a new growth, the trees are not the same as the old, and the hills underneath their green vesture bear the marks of the past rending. To the eyes that have dwelt on the past, there is no thorough repair.”

  15. May 23, 2009 9:10 am

    My sins are ever before me and I know them only too well. In my distressed state, I clearly over reacted. I have apologized privately for that to the person I have offended. I am very sorry for the painful ‘collateral damage’ done to so many friends in this foolish cyberwar, While I take full and complete responsibility for my words and actions directed toward one person, the responsibility for the initiation of the cyberwars lies elsewhere. The chances of that happening again are slim to none, as I will no longer be part of that neighborhood. Actually, I think my departure has been distinctly desired by the ‘landlord’ for some time now. I will still check in over there from time to time, and I am grateful for the friends I have met in that neighborhood. I am looking forward to seeing many of you in a few weeks. Again, my sincere apologies to you all.

    • episcopalifem permalink*
      May 23, 2009 3:00 pm


      I am very much looking forward to seeing you soon.

      And no apology is owed to me, I think there was a good lesson in all of it for all of us.

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