"There is nothing all that bad about mixed motives, unless we think they are pure." ~FalconbrotherI'm listening to James Taylor singing "You've Got A Friend" as I type. It's been a long time since I liked an entire CD but his new One Man Band mix is a keeper.
The song seems fitting as I mull over a telephone conversation I had all morning with a long time friend. One I'd lost touch with when she moved away. A friend who has been there for me through really rough stretches and who I was there for when she went through a deep and dark depression years ago.
Our friendship has barely survived where my spiritual journey has brought me. There were several years where we hardly talked. My interest in living out my faith within the Catholic Church became a huge elephant in the room. Other than our initial conversation where she insinuated I was deceived if my journey was going to take me there, we don't talk about this aspect of my journey. Eventually I told her that I didn't need her to support my choice of Church but I did need her to support me as I journeyed, if our friendship was to continue.
Our conversation this morning lasted several hours. And I can't shake feeling I was trying to prove something to her. Like see how far I've come in my journey since becoming Catholic and needing her approval. I hate when someone else's opinion matters more to me than my own. When I lose all sense that I get to define me and find myself handing over the reins and saying, "Here, you define me for a second, okay?" (or a minute, an hour, a lifetime; depending on the day)
But get like that I do.
When that happens I feel like I'm Odie in a Garfield comic strip.
Often when I am in conversation with someone I will imagine breathing into all the white spaces around their words in order to remind myself to listen for what's not being said, too. It helps me listen on a deeper level. This morning I simply ceased listening altogether, instead having so many answers of my own. It was a bunch of (apologies to dearest one for using this term) bla bla bla on my part. It wasn't so much what I said but my motives in saying what I did. Straining to show her just where I've arrrived to. Blech.
At one point she asked was I still writing? When I answered yes, but didn't give her my blog address I knew just how insecure I was feeling in our friendship. Not giving my blog address to friends means I don't trust them with the whole of my story. It means I'm scared they'll shit on me if they know the darkest places I've been. Sad that many of you who I've never met, know more about my journey than friends I've had for decades.
Several years ago I was in an evangelical church listening to the pastor preach. As I was sitting there judging him, these words, "When you judge the journey of others you are trying to steal their story from them. Don't steal their stories." came into my head. I'm scared she will steal my story. In the process I lose the ability to honour hers as well.
I hate when I'm not comfortable in my own skin; when being in the presence of some people make all my insecurities rise to the surface like yeast in the bowl. Damn.
When I was on my walk today I beat myself up for that for several paces before I caught myself and stopped. When I was in treatment this summer I asked a man I respect if he regretted not achieving sobriety the first time in treatment as this was his 4th or 5th time around. He looked at me and said, "I don't play that game. To do so would mean not honouring my story."
So I don't have it figured out like I thought I did. I get scared to show people the real me. The one without all the answers. The one I thought was behind me.
The one who gets progress and perfection mixed up.
How I feel about myself in relation to others is mine to own.
I so wanted to blame her.
Fear kept me from acting with integrity this morning.
I don't know how much of our friendship was based on us seeing the same view out the window, you know?
And I'm scared to find out.