"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Holding the Rose, Carefully
im-i-tate Function: transitive verb
Etymology: Latin imitatus, past participle of imitari -- more at IMAGE
1 : to follow as a pattern, model, or example
2 : to be or appear like :
3 : The greatest complement one can give
I had a very unexpected and deep blessing yesterday.
First, I am going to have to back up a bit and fill in the story. I'll do it quick, bear with me. I'll have to be a bit vague as well, you'll understand in a moment.
A friend of mine was having some difficult marital problems last year. She found that her husband was frequently lying and might even be cheating on her. She was speaking candidly about it to me and told me that she wanted to divorce him, and looked at me and said "Why can't I just be happy?" She had tears in her eyes, she was hurting so badly inside.
Some moments just burn themselves into your memory. That was one of them. Her heart was breaking just as her voice was when she said it.
I told her that I would pray for her, and specifically I would pray for her husband to become the man she wanted him to be. And that's what I did, pray for that to happen in her life and her husband's life.
Never take prayer lightly. The stuff works.
Fast forward six months to just before Christmas when I saw her again. We were chatting and I picked up something between the lines from a few things that were said. The first thing I picked up was that her husband had drastically changed his behavior, and was falling into line with what she had wanted.
The second thing was not as encouraging. And I only suspected it, but felt that, as a friend, I could ask.
"You are running around on your husband aren't you?"
Her eyes got big. I was right. She embarrassingly admitted it. Yes, she was.
We talked for a good long time. I pointed out to her that now, with the situation the way it was, she was being the roadblock to her marriage, and perhaps even a worse one than her husband had been. It is surprising to me how easily we become the thing we hate. I've done it in the past and now she had done it too. Perhaps in some warped way, its our way of taking revenge, of showing that we can scrap just as well as those we feel have hurt us.
Well, I saw her again this week.
I was not about to bring up the topic of her marriage again. I had said what I felt and what I thought was right about what she was doing, and I never mix my approval of a person's actions with my friendships. I can hate the act and love the actor, if you will. But she raised the topic almost immediately.
"I did a lot of thinking about what you said a few weeks ago," she said. "I think you were right. I've stopped what I was doing and I've broken off that relationship. My marriage will either stand or fall on its own legs."
The short time we had talked about it, a month ago, had made such an impression on her that she had made a major life change. I can't express how deeply I was honored.
That, to me, is one of the greatest complements a person can receive, to know that you might have made a difference, that things are somehow better in another person's life because you were there.
If I could choose for myself one destiny, one legacy to leave behind, it would be that. To have made a difference, to have touched the lives of others, to have been given the privilege of being the person that God chooses to be there when He needs one of His roses carefully and delicately tended. And the rose must be held ever so gently, because God loves it so much.
People act badly so many times, I think, because they simply can't see any other alternative. They don't think that home can ever be fixed, so they venture outside of it for what they feel they need. Then a spouse does the same thing in payment for being hurt. Neither one thinks of the fact that, together, they could fix it, make home what they wanted it to be all along. Instead, they will take actions that crumble families and lives.
I've seen it just too many times.
But what an honor I was given, to have my advice taken seriously and even acted upon. That is the best of complements, the truest mark of a friend.
Nothing in life is as good as the marriage of true minds between man and woman. As good? It is life itself.
Pearl S. Buck