Dancing with the devil

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I’ve heard that we need to stay away from toxic people, otherwise they will bring us down to where they are rather than us lifting them up to where we are.  But how does someone who tries to see the best in everyone do that without feeling like she’s given up on people?  How can she stay away from the toxic people when she feels like she may be missing an opportunity to rescue them from themselves?
The empathetic heart wasn’t given to her for no reason.
The parade of damaged and lost people wasn’t brought through her life for no reason.
Take her blinders off and she’ll still see the good in a person as they are stabbing her in the back.

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When will healing come?

2 weeks as of today.  That’s how long this mess has been unfolding everyday at work.  With each day that passes more misdeeds come to light.  Lies told.  Money stolen.  People hurt.  And each day, and each revelation, seems to continue to be worse than the one before.  How much lower can it get?  Was there no point at which the offender said, “maybe this is taking all of this too far?”  With as far down as everything went, that is further that we, the remaining staff, are having to climb back up.  And just when we think we’ve made it up a few feet and maybe everything is leveling off along comes another blow that knocks the station back down.
Morale at my radio station sucks right now.  Everyone is so discouraged, angry, and broken hearted.  You can see in everyone’s eyes the protective mental armor that comes from extended periods of disappointment and disbelief.  Nobody is capable of raising their eyes up, because to look up means that we may see more hidden misdeeds coming to light.  We all talk quietly like we’re at a funeral, and in a way we are in mourning.  The person we knew, and the way of life at the station, is dead.  We are now in a position to find our own way through the mess he created, and we are angry.  We are very angry.  He name has become a curse word worse than the longest string of f-bombs.  We struggle to get through each day without running into something we are having to clean up because of him.
2 weeks ago he was loved.  2 weeks ago he was respected.  2 weeks ago he was a member of our work family, someone we were positive we could turn to for advice and support.  And then the truth came out about what he had been doing behind our backs.  How could we all have been so blind?  How could we not see this coming?  Were there no signs?  Sure, we can see the signs now, but hindsight is always 20/20.
I am so confused right now.  I am angry.  I am disappointed.  I feel betrayed.  And I feel guilty for feeling all of those things.  I know I should forgive him for everything, but right now I just can’t.  Just when I think I am able to forgive him, something else comes out that he did, and I get kicked down again.  By giving voice to these feelings, and by not making my peace with him and not forgiving him, I am giving strength to the negativity this situation has caused.  And the negativity is running rampant through the station right now like the nastiest toxic waste.  Will we ever be able to get out of it?  Will we ever be able to recover and have a day that his actions do not cloud?
I want to forgive him.  I don’t want to be angry at him anymore.  I want to stop caring about the man I though he was so that I can pray for the recovery of the man he actually is.  I want to know that he feels honestly remorseful for the things he did.  I want him to own up to everything and apologize.  I guess what I am still searching for is the closure that may will eventually come in time.  Just when I think closure may be possible something else happens to steal it away.
When a loved one passes away an important part of the grieving process is to actually see the body, because then our brain can accept the fact that the person is gone, and the mourning process is shortened.  By not seeing the body, our brain can continue to live in denial about the persons passing, and the mourning process takes longer to get through.  That is why funeral visitations are so important.  They give the opportunity to say goodbye.  I haven’t gotten to say goodbye.  I hear these things about this man, but without hearing him say it himself my brain doesn’t want to believe it.  My mourning process is slow in getting to the acceptance stage.  I miss him.  No matter what he did to me, to my coworkers, to the station, I miss him.  I miss him very much, and it fucking hurts!  I want to scream and yell at him.  I want to hurt him as much as this whole situation has hurt me and my coworkers.  I want to hate him.  I want to be able to say, “if I saw him right now it’s knock his ass out,” or “I am completely done with him forever,” like my coworkers do.  But I can feel that way, or say those things.  Because truth be told, if I saw him right now I would probably give him a hug, and try to talk to him.  I would offer him support and help.  Something inside that man is broken, and there is nothing I can do to help him fix it.  I am completely powerless, and I hate it.  I hate everything about this entire situation.  I want my workplace to go back to where it was 2 weeks ago, even if we were all blind to the truth.
When will the hurt in my heart go away?  When will I no longer worry about what may happen to him?  When will I no longer want to cry?  When, when, WHEN will healing come?

Two men in one

My heart hurts.  It is broken.  This is a road I have been down before, but this time it hurts so much more than before.

I try to always see the best in people.  There is something good about everyone, some redeeming quality that keeps them from being a completely vile human being no matter how much a turd they behave like.  The problem with always looking for the best in people is that sometimes it blinds me to what a person actually is.

Take Jack-the-ripper for example.  We all know he was a sadistic murderer who preyed on women.  Yes, he was a completely terrible human being, but maybe he just had “mommy” issues and needed a hug.  He may have been a very talented painter, or accomplished athlete.  We do know that he was obviously very good at the game of hide-and-seek, seeing as how he managed to not only elude capture, but also managed to keep from ever giving away his identity.

See?  There is a positive side to everyone.  Given, Jack-the-ripper is a bit of a gross example, but no matter how grim and dark a situation seems to be, no matter how awful a person appears, there is something inside everyone that is good.  There are no bad people, just people who make bad mistakes.

Back to the downside of always looking for the good in a person . . . again, it can blind me to what a person is doing right in front of me.

I am in a situation now where I am struggling to reconcile a person I thought I knew to the person he actually is.  He’s not a bad man.  He just made some very bad decisions.  The effects of those decisions have been coming to light over the last two weeks.  Last week seemed to be just one thing after another until I was left wondering who the man was that I thought I knew.  Maybe I’m not making any sense.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I can’t figure out if the man I’ve known for  3 1/2 years truly is a good man who has just made some bad decisions, or if he was a turd of a human being who wore a “good” mask to cover up what he was doing.  Whatever the case may be, the truth is out, and my heart is broken.

I want to be able to talk to him.  I want him to tell me what he did, rather than hearing the anger-fueled accusations of others.  I want to be able to stand in front of him and look at him, in the eye, and see who he is inside.

I drove past his house last Friday while on my way to another destination, and he was sitting in his driveway.  I almost stopped, but with a pounding heart I continued on.  Later I talked to a friend and asked him what I should do.  The Bible says that when someone slaps one cheek we should turn the other to them.  We must forgive others, lest God not forgive us for our sins.  I have forgiven him, but I don’t understand him.  I don’t understand how a person could be so generous, so kind, seem to care so much, go behind the backs of everyone around him and lie the way he did.  I don’t understand how I couldn’t see it when I have been in this same situation before.

Some may call it “oblivious.”  Some may say “naive.”  Others may say “too trusting.”  There is good inside everyone.  I still believe that.  Maybe it’s not my place to understand why he did what he did.  Maybe it’s not my place to be angry at him.  My only role in this is to forgive him.  I have forgiven the man who did what he did.  What I am having a hard time with is forgiving the man that he made himself appear to be.

I looked up to him.  I respected him.  And now I don’t know who that man was that I respected.  Did he ever exist?  Has his role in my life for the past 3 1/2 years been entirely a lie?  Was there ever a moment in that time when he stopped long enough to regret what he was doing, and how it would affect those around him?

The thing about lies and secrets . . . they always come to light.  Always.

So now his stuff has been boxed up, but still sits right where everyone can see it.  I think that is worse than leaving it where it was.  In boxes it is all a reminder of what he did, and every time I look at his belongings a little more salt gets poured into the wound.

I just want all of this to be done.  I want all of his stuff to be gone.  I want things to return to some semblance of the routine we knew before everything came to light.  I want the wound to heal, and it will . . . in time.

Until then I must try to merge the man I knew with the man that he turned out to actually be, and it’s difficult, and so painful.

Until next time . . .

A letter that will never get read

This is the fourth time I’ve tried to start this post.  Will this one meet with the delete button also?

I need to sit down and talk with someone that I care about very much.  But due to circumstances involved with the situation I may never be given that opportunity.  When my dad was going through the worst of his drug addiction several years ago he and I wrote letters back and forth.  He was in prison in Missouri, and I was living in Paducah by that time.  Talking on the phone was not an option.  Instead I vented so much anger out to him via pen and paper, but through those letters we worked through the issues that his addiction had caused between us, and started on the way to forgiveness.

The situation that is before me now is very similar to the my dad’s, but this has hurt me in a much different way because I may not ever really get the chance to say to the person what I want or need to.  I may not get that opportunity for closure that communication brings.  I am going to try though with the following “letter” that may be as close as I will ever get to speaking with that person again.  For the record, the inability to speak to the person is not by my choice.  It is just because of the situation itself.  I’ve thought about reaching out to the person, but I doubt it would be welcomed by that person, or by others involved.  At the moment my hands are tied and my mouth is muzzled.

Dear friend,

Allow me to begin by saying that no matter where the road takes either of us from here I still love you.  You have been very important to me over the last few years.  You were someone that I held a great respect for, and I believe that you felt the same way about me.  I felt very valued in your life, and you always went out of your way to make sure that I never doubted that.

Recently some things came to light about you that have affected everyone involved with the situation.  Some are angry.  Some are sad.  Some are numb with shock.  I have been all of these in the last few days.  I don’t know what made you do the things you did, but I want you to know that I have already forgiven you for what you did to me.

Friend, you are a good person at heart, and even good people can make poor decisions.  But those poor decisions do not define who we are.  I have faith that you will eventually be able to find your way out of this, and hopefully be stronger because of it.  There are suspicions of your past coming back to haunt you.  I pray that it’s not true, but if it is, I pray that you get the help you need to put it where it belongs . . . back in the past.

There are reminders of you everywhere I look, and with the pain of what you did so fresh, you name is one everybody’s lips.  It hurts me to hear others speak of you the way they do.  I know they expect me to be angry and unforgiving, but without giving forgiveness then how do we begin to heal and move on?  I don’t believe you are a bad person.  I believe you just made a wrong turn and got lost.  It’s time to turn around and find your way back, Friend.

No matter what happens always remember that you have my forgiveness, and that I believe in you to work past anything you are going through.  I am always here for you.

Heather

Now please excuse me.  I need to cry.

Until next time . . .

I can’t delete me

Recently there was a huge misunderstanding within my church.  A few people said somethings (myself included) about the leadership of the church.  I sided with some people without getting the entire story.  I wrote a post about the event while still in the heat of the moment, but the very next day was convicted by an unlikely person that maybe I needed to hear the other side of the story before taking any further action.

I met with the pastor of my church and heard the rest of the story.  Needless to say, I did not leave my church after all.  I apologized to my pastor, his wife, the leadership team, and many others that I hurt directly or indirectly.

Since then it has been suggested to me by a friend that I remove the offending post.  I have thought on it for several days and am opting to leave it right where it is.  It will serve as a physical reminder to me to always get the other side of the story.  Besides, I am not perfect.  Nobody is.  I am a collection of all of my experiences . . . good ones, bad ones, stupid ones, and not-so-stupid ones.  To remove that post would be to delete a small part of what has made me who I am.  I can’t delete any other experience, so why would I delete that one poorly thought out post?

I have learned from the experience, and am working to apply its lesson to my life even now.  That is what we do.  We learn from everything.

Until next time . . .