Saturday, July 28, 2012

All the lonely people

At work, when someone brings a baby to the office, the women squeal and shower the baby with attention.  When a baby is born, we have such hopes -- that no one will hurt her, that she will thrive, that her dreams will come true.  We protect babies.  We care for babies.

Babies grow to adults.  We have no love to shower upon them any more.

Thursday, someone said to me, "No one in [name of city] likes me."

Friday, someone different said to me, "[Name of person] explained to me that the reason no one wants to hang out with me is because I'm a pain bearer."

You'd think with all the adults feeling alone, we could somehow get together and not be alone.

It's not so simple.

Babies are happy to be smiled at, babies are happy if their bellies are full and their diapers are clean.

Adults want so much more.

We annoy each other.  We hurt each other.  Most people, I don't actually like.  Most people, I keep a distance from.  So lonely we all stay.  But then there are the people I choose to let into my life.  Choosing to let people into my life means I will hurt them and they will hurt me.

The reason my first friend felt that nobody liked him was because he tried to get people to do things with him, and no one did.  

I've tried to get my first friend to do things with me, and he didn't do them.  It left me feeling that no one likes me.

My second friend received the comment  about being a pain bearer in response to his talking about feeling that no one would spend time with him.  He had just expressed what he was hurting about, and his companion went in and stabbed him right where he was hurting.

There was a time when I told my second friend what I was hurting about, and he went in and stabbed me right where I was hurting.

They don't like being hurt, but that does not free them of the ability to hurt others.  Nor am I free of the ability to hurt others.  

I want to heal the hurts of my friends, but I can't do it.  My friends feel as if nobody likes them, in spite of that fact that I like them.   Whatever they want is not  something I can give them.

It's like when I was little, I said, "I want somebody to tie my shoe."  My mother went to tie my shoe, and I said, "No, I want Somebody to tie my shoe," because I really wanted my aunt to tie it.  I can't make my friends happy, just like my mother couldn't make me happy.

And so we live, a bunch of lonely people, trapped in unhappiness, hurting each other, unable to heal each other's hurts.

The answer often given to the question, "If God exists and is all powerful, why does suffering exist?" is that it is because God has given us free will.  

I don't believe that the universe is as it is due to the will of a deity.  I also don't really think that free will explains why cancer exists.  However, what that answer does tell me is the unhappiness we often live with is a result of our complexity, and our complexity is also what makes life so beautiful.  If we were still babies, we couldn't play the ukulele.  If we were still babies, we couldn't dance.  If we were still babies, we couldn't paddle a kayak.  If we were still babies, we couldn't articulate our thoughts and have those thoughts be understood by others.  

We grow up from being babies.  We become strangers to each other.  We annoy each other.  We hurt each other.  But still, we transcend all that.  We find a way to share joy with each other, to laugh together, to dance together, to be kind to each other, to forgive, to love.  And that is the exquisite miracle of what it is to be human.

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