Monday, March 28, 2011

Wishing Rock and Such

I finished a book yesterday... actually, it's pretty much all I did yesterday, aside from church.  It was nice to take a breather for a change, cuddle up in the big comfy chair with a blanket, and immerse myself in someone else's world for awhile.  Letters from Wishing Rock is the first novel of a friend of mine, Pam Stucky.  (I'm just assuming I'm going to get advertising revenue for this later. LOL)  Briefly, it's the story of a mid-thirties woman who has been recently jilted... she moves to this small community to start over, to heal, to find a way to move on.    It's good.  You should buy it.  (!)

The entire story is told via emails and texts between the different characters, and within the first 50 pages, there is this beautiful 3-page passage that I just loved.  It's far too long to share the entire thing... I fear it's a bit more plagiarism than I could get away with. :)

"... There is so much more to be gained from having an open heart than from having a closed one.  We are afraid to admit to others what we are really thinking, because we fear that the other person won't like us for what we have to say.  We worry that if they know our true hearts they won't like us. But how much better is it to be loved for who you are, than for who you are pretending to be, who a person thinks you are, when it is not the real you?..."

The first line of this really touched me where I am right now.  I am a very trusting person usually.  Too much trusting.  I want to engage with you, and it really doesn't take much to get me to trust you.  I am probably very manipulable.  Not probably.  I know I am. It is a quality that I both like and dislike about myself.  I like that my bent is to think the better of you from the get-go, rather than the opposite.  I like that my heart's desire is for you to be worthy of that trust.  What I don't like is how often that blows up in my face.  How often I learn later that maybe trusting someone wasn't the best plan.  How when my "I trust you" blinders come off and I see more clearly, I wonder with pain and almost-shame, "How on earth did I let that person hoodwink me so completely?"  I'm not stupid... I think I just want you so much to be worth it, and oh it hurts to know you took that and ran with it.

A bit too much self-revelation for a Monday, maybe?

In any case, I was thinking of this a lot on Saturday night... and so to read this passage on Sunday afternoon... "There is so much more to be gained from having an open heart than from having a closed one..."  Maybe there was a little bit in that to say to me "You know what?  It's okay."  Maybe offering trust hurts.  But every once in a while, it brings the opportunity for great love and friendship, too.

Edit:  Pam now has a 2nd book in the series out called The Wishing Rock Theory of Life. You can buy it here at her website or on Amazon or wherever else it is!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our own hero

"Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story." --John Barth

I love this quote. I love it. I love it. I love it.  I read it a couple years ago, and I always come back to it, over and over.  A thought that tumbles in the back of my mind constantly.

Life is conflict. It just is.  Unless we choose to be hermits, we spend our lives in contact with other people.  Other very flawed people, of which I include ourselves as well.  There will be conflict! There will be drama.  Oh, I hear you, you insisters that you do not do drama and I laugh.  Goodnaturedly. I have been known to make the same claim.  Yet, I think I would almost argue that the people who declare this the loudest are the same people who are constantly in the midst of it.  Conflict is a part of our lives... and we don't conflict with the natural world so much.  I've never cried over a box of laundry soap (although it is entirely possible that I have cried over a laundry soap COMMERCIAL). We conflict with people.  Crazy, messed-up, selfish people.  And I can say that because I, too, am one of them.

When in that conflict, it is so easy to begin to see yourself as the victim.  YOU are the one being hurt.  YOU are the one being persecuted.  They are wrong and you are right... because, you see, YOU are the hero. This is your story and you are the protagonist... which makes anyone who is against you the antagonist.  But flip that around a moment, please.  For while they are the antagonist to your story, so too are you the antagonist to theirs.  They have their own story to write... and in theirs, you are the enemy and they are the hero.  They have their own struggles, their own hurts, their own goals, their own dreams.

There is something about this idea that I like...  I don't know if I find it comforting or just... that it helps me to make a little bit of sense out of the world.  In the grand scheme of things, I find there are really not that many bad people.  But, the world IS full of people writing their own stories... maybe writing them badly, maybe giving their hero terrible decisions... but all trying to make it to the epilogue in one piece.  I think I find this makes it easier for me to have compassion.
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