I have lots of writing projects I’m juggling at the moment. And the extra-long weekend gave me plenty of time to work on them. I’ve spent time writing and revising my short stories, I’ve added to the outline for my novel, I’ve “attended” my online writing course with James Patterson, and I’ve written some more material for a possible memoir/self-help book I’ve been considering. Today, I’m excited about the memoir.
I woke up this morning and as I was driving my daughters to work, I had this wind tunnel of ideas churning in my head. I was trying to juggle the sentences and paragraphs and ideas, hoping that by the time I got a chance to put pen to paper, I’d remember everything. I don’t think I did remember everything, but as soon as I got the chance, I wrote down a few ideas for chapters and I began working on one chapter titled, “On Keeping Your Two Cents and Banking It.”
Below is an excerpt:
You cannot force another person into enlightenment. Sometimes we listen to our friends and family and hear the pain of their words as they complain about that man or woman, that co-worker, or whatever it is that’s bothering them. Having experienced something similar ourselves, we immediately reach into our back pocket and pull out our own experience and offer it as a way to help the person “fix” their situation. But whatever is “wrong” in the person’s life has be something they view as a problem.
If a woman “loves” the man who you’ve witnessed degrade her, heard her talk about how he treats her and shows her no respect, your constant advice-giving cannot change her situation. In fact, your advice may do more harm than good. Eventually, she may start to see you as a person who is just jealous of the fact that she has a man. People are so quick to point out that “I have a man and you don’t,” even when that man is treating them like garbage. That’s become the standard for love, simply having a warm body to come home to. We can’t fix everybody’s situation.
People spend years trying to reform drug addicts, trying to get them to see how much better life can be for them without their dependency on drugs, but any professional drug counselor will tell you that you cannot forcefully fix an addict. They have to want to change. This is the same for anyone, not just drug addicts. People who have loved a drug addict eventually learn that you sometimes have to love people from a distance because their actions are harmful. Stepping back to allow someone to learn through their experience for themselves does not show a lack of love. On the contrary, it shows the utmost of love and respect. Respect people enough to allow them to live their own experiences.
When my children were learning how to walk, I couldn’t walk for them. I was excited, anticipating them taking their first steps. But no matter how excited I was, I couldn’t rush it to happen. Not being able to rush it or to take the steps for them, I had no choice but to wait for them to take the steps themselves. Similarly, we can’t walk another person’s life for them. And that’s as it should be.
My children took their first steps when the fear of falling was overrode by their desire and need to walk on their own.
Every person should be given space to come to things on their own terms. Sometimes the person may even decide that there is no problem with the way they are living their life. And that’s okay too. We don’t get to determine what Heaven looks like for another person. We don’t even get to determine if a person chooses Heaven over Hell. That’s not our decision to make. Yes, we sometimes can encourage people to do better because we love them, but sometimes we have to love enough to be quiet. Allow people to learn their own lessons and have their own experiences.
We also need to remember that life is just like a great big classroom. We’re all students with lessons to learn, but different things are preventing us from learning the lessons we need to learn. Sometimes we’re just too stubborn, sometimes we don’t see the value of the lesson we’re being taught, sometimes we’re in the class because we’re forced to be there, and sometimes we’re just not in the mood to learn because we’re too busy having fun.
Peace & Love,
*Note: This have been a wonderful break and I am thankful for every moment of it, not because I got to spend time with my family. I have always valued those that I love and because of that, I try to keep in mind that tomorrow is not promised and so I try to show them every day that I love them. Not just on one set-aside commercialized day. Not because I got to eat good. I can eat what I want any day. This was a wonderful break because I got to write. I write every day anyway because it’s my passion and I will never ever turn away from it, but the break allowed me the time to write as much as I wanted to. And I did lots of writing. There were no deadlines to meet, no lessons to plan, no papers to grade, no taking on extra work to make extra money so I could make ends meet, it was just me and the whirlwind of ideas swirling in my head and lots and lots of writing.