Thursday, March 19, 2009

it isn't all good

I know a guy who had his heart broken. The girl who had promised to marry him changed her mind and he was left in shambles. That winter he stopped wearing a coat.

This was not a Florida winter where it might get a little less balmy around Christmas, either; this was an east coast, the North side of the country, it gets-cold-all-up-in-here winter.

The snow would be falling around us outside while he remained in jeans and his white tee. And we noticed.

Finally, when one of us gently asked him why he didn't wear his coat anymore, he said--

The cold makes me feel alive in a time when nothing else really does.

This made sense. We let the subject drop and didn't ever tell him to put on a coat. He was fighting through his own darkness, if the cold made him feel better, far be it from us to keep him from it. His close friends would walk with him outside, their bundled defenses against the cold in stark contrast to his thin white tee; but still, they wanted him to know they were close and though they weren't a part of his broken hearted club, per se, they were a part of his life.

Whatever that meant for him, whatever that meant for them.

A person very dear to my heart miscarried. This was a baby she wanted, a baby she already loved. One day she walked with me outside, near where she and her husband had buried the tiny babe.

We talked of the child, we called him by name.

And then we both just wept; there were simply no words. No platitudes to absolve the sadness, the very idea of it offensive. Again, I was not a part of her club, but I saw her there and and decided to stand right next to her.

I recently found out the sad news that one of my favorite people on this tour is not coming back to finish out the last six months with us. I was crushed. The possibility of him not finishing the next six months with us had never crossed my mind; we had talked about Japan and the wonder that would be. I just assumed it would happen. With all of us together.

He told me right before the show started and I cried. To me, it is a very sad thing. Later, when all of the others found out his news, too, a person came up to me and said,

I know why you were crying the other night, I talked to [name] too.

Oh, so you know he isn't coming back? Isn't that so sad? I asked.

She looked me right in the eye and said in a maddeningly pragmatic manner, It's the business. It's just how things work.

I got a little passionate and responded, I don't care. It sucks and I am emotionally upset and I will miss my friend. I said this slowly and deliberately, for some reason it was important that each word was clearly understood.

I could have used a kind word, something that told me that even if she wasn't necessarily upset by the news, she had seen me crying and wanted to let me know that my sadness made her sad.

It would have been nice. Much nicer than being talked out of it...

I guess my point is that sometimes we just need to sit next to each other in our pain. Wait together for the first streak of dawn to fight through the present darkness but, in the meantime, acknowledge that it's real. That it hurts. That our bruised hearts are validated. Sometimes we just need to walk quietly next to the friend who needs to feel the biting cold. We need to cry with the friend who will never know one of her babies--not here, anyway, not now.

I think that is basically what this proverb means--

Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
or is like vinegar poured on soda,
is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

Because sometimes silence, or tears, or just plain agreement works much better than any kind of happy song we could try to sing.
Now maybe if you wanna sing the blues, or some sad ballad--well now, that's a different story...


beingawesome said...

Life isn't all sunshine, that's true. But love and a good cup of tea/coffee with a friend seems to cure all that ails ya.

That is really sad about the person not finishing out the tour. I hope it's for positive reasons but I know it's really none of my business. I will say that it has to be really hard once you've developed an on-stage and off-stage relationship with someone and then they just leave the company :(

Oh and just as a side note:
That whole "It's just the business" mantra. I think that we should always strive to keep using that phrase to a minimum. I mean yes, sometimes things are just how it is but there are those times where people just use it as an excuse or a defense mechanism because they're hurting or scared for themselves.

my couple o' pennies.

peaj said...

I'm reminded of Job's three friends. When they first came to him, they sat on the ground with him for seven days. During that time none of them said a word to him, "because they saw how great his suffering was."

One thing I think they got right.

Sorry about your friend moving on and you losing that closeness with them.

kathiek said...

Sometimes it's not just that words are not enough...sometimes they are too least in those first agonizing moments of sorrow. I agree with peaj about Job's friends. They got it right when they kept a silent vigil with Job. Once they opened their mouths, their words were less than helpful. Sometimes life is painful and there is no amount of figuring out, no answers to, "Why?", that can take it away or ameliorate it. Just being there to share someone's sorrow, to be a witness to their pain, to offer your shoulder for someone to cry on, can be the most loving and caring and comforting thing you can do for someone.

Mom said...

You are so very right, Jessica. Sometimes people just want to give solutions when someone is in pain because they themselves don't want to feel pain.

You know I am sad about the person who is not continuing with the tour. It makes no sense to me because he truly is a great actor and singer. It's sad! but I'm glad he has friends who cry with him.

Nina said...

I totally agree with you, Jess, and everyone else too. I think that words can be dangerous when someone is suffering (it's easy to say the wrong thing and hurt when you mean to heal), but your presence with them is usually a safe bet.

I think one of the amazing things about Jesus coming to earth is that he came into our sorrow. I love those verses in Isaiah that say "He was a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering" because it lets us know that we don't have to put a happy face on for him. He'll come and be with us in our difficult times.

I'm sorry that your friend is leaving the show.

Lady Leth said...

So true...I think one of the most comforting things to me when I am going through haard times is when someone can just agree with me, and say understand that it sucks. Feeling understood is such a powerful thing.

Jessica Latshaw said...

I just wanna say that all of these comments rock and each of you sound like sensitive and gentle confidantes.

Thank you.