I feel like there are a million things bursting at the seams. One of my favorite quotes is Ralph Waldo Emerson's idea of success: To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
I have often read over it, but it is only recently that a certain line in it has begun to stand out. To "endure the betrayal of false friends". A lot of things have happened this year. A lot of changes, complete life changes. A move, an ended long term relationship, a diagnosis, a leap forward in a career path and then a giant leap backwards...but mostly all of these events have only revealed what I hoped I would never find, but was inevitable, that I would eventually know who really cares and who doesn't give a shit. (When this many extreme things happen at once it is bound to happen). I never understood how so many people operate on the principle of "out of sight out of mind", even family members. How the individual struggles of one's life can somehow create a wall that very few if anyone is willing to climb over to give two shits about your life and well-being. Being "phased out" of home, a job, out of friendships do not go unnoticed and hurt the heart. The neglect and loneliness felt is real and cuts deep. The difficulty to physically make it through the day is only magnified by the un-ringing phone on the bed, the hours and days that pass too quietly. People forget as you lay in a hospital bed and their life continues to move forward that yours is stuck; hoping, straining, wishing to move forward again in the hopes that you can once again be seen by those around you as a worthy co-worker, friend, acquaintance, lover, sister...
"Just try harder, be stronger..." someone tells me.
But, "I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me."
Maybe, this is a selfish mind-set. All I know is...if the situation were reversed there wouldn't be heaven or hell I wouldn't walk through to be there for someone I really did care about. I am not perfect nor claim to be, but my imperfect heart would never give up on a friend, but it is starting to give up on myself. Pain has an amazing ability to make you forget that you were born to fly, that there is beauty in the world. It masks the wonders of dreams, when you cannot even sleep long enough to enter the dream state. And as the world crumbles around you, you wonder where everyone who claimed to be praying for you, thinking about you went. Are they still on their knees? Sometimes it means more to make a phone call than say a prayer.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. -Robert Frost