Friday, November 14, 2008


Butterflies drinking pee in the sand along the Rio Madre de Dios, Peru.
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I finally have finished all three articles that I had on my plate - whew! I normally feel a sense of relief, but I feel I'm still on the treadmill of work.... I'm going to go have some fun tonight, and then will start working on my book again this weekend. Right now, I'm heading to the gym to get some of this angst off my chest.

Have been doing some soul-searching lately. I'm just about finished with a 12-week "grace group" which is offered at my church and part of the Open Hearts Ministry. It's a program for survivors of abuse of various kinds (they define abuse broadly) and it's actually really amazing and intense. I think every week tears have been shed, sometimes body-wracking sobs. It's one of those "real" groups, where you can push one another's buttons, and yet instead of people walking away - as is my experience when you're not "perfect" (or someone's idea of how you should be), the leaders push you to see your own issues, and help you see them in a new light. As they put it, the point is to cover "shame" with "grace." To be real, but to work through the issues that arise rather than either pretending they don't exist and being polite, or walking away from the situation, you learn to work through them. Not necessarily to always agree, but to agree to love the best in the other person.

Too often, we either project our failures and issues onto others (other-based contempt) or we blame ourselves for everything (self-contempt). One goal of this program is to help people see the past, how it affected our behavior in the present, to see what is needed to move forward, and to reaffirm our worth and dignity, as a loved child of God. It's great because it's not preachy or churchy at all but very very real and down to earth. It's a Christian ministry but they even show how the hyper-churchiness of some people is itself a foil or a learned behavior to avoid the painfulness of facing reality. I'm definitely not of the hyper churchiness type but I use a different persona, a sort of ambivalence persona, where I can go back and forth between two extremes of feelings or thoughts. The program tries to help everyone "diffuse" some of the pain and so that when a certain situation pushes our buttons we don't over-react and revert back to our behaviors. Like everything, it's a process.

For me, I hate being ignored. I hate the space of not-knowing. It drives me bat-shit crazy (pardon the French). I do not like to make assumptions (good or bad) about people, and if anything I often assume the worst possible outcome for myself, while wishing for the best and wishing and not wanting to believe in the sometimes very clear signs in front of me. I like to offer up grace and hope and believe in the best in people (and if that's not confusing enough to read, try living in that space!) :) It is not (obviously) the best thing in the world for me, because I can cling onto hope when hope is a long-dead horse. But I also believe that is how God loves each and every person on earth. I believe there's hope for even the most wretched person to see the light of truth, the light of love, and to catch a glimpse of their own sinfulness in the mirror, even those in the greatest denial. I myself have in the past been in denial of some of my behaviors. And I'm probably in denial still, of something. I see the light in just about every person I meet, even when they later deeply disappoint me. I wish always for a way forward. I believe there always is one, though sometimes it requires time away.

A life of constant seeking and self-introspection I think is the best way to go in order to be honest about how we are, and how we affect others. I wish others would always give me a chance to show my best self, but that chance is not always offered. That's what breaks my heart. Because I do try to be a good friend, and I'm grateful that I have that opportunity to be a friend to so many people who have stayed in my life over the years. My friends are my family. And I truly do love everyone who has come into my life and touched it gently and with love. Even those who have hurt me, whether they meant to or not, I try to offer them prayers and love and hope that one day there will be reconciliation.


Miranda said...

The photo of butterflies drinking pee is fascinating...makes you think what goes on in nature that we're never even aware.

I have the same tendency to keep giving people a chance, the benefit of the doubt but have sadly learned that some people really won't change or see the light and the faster you realize who is really caring and wh isn't, the better. It's like, we operate by the Golden Rule but need to realize others may not!

Unknown said...

I put that photo on my Peru photo gallery ( have you seen then? You'd never know what they were drinking but yep that was it. Someone had taken a leak on the sandy river beach and then all gathered there. I guess they like the salt.

So about people... sigh. Yes. I tend to pursue people because I've had so many occasions where I keep up with people and later they do come around, friends, exes, etc. I know sometimes i've emailed someone and gotten ignored and had no idea why and then realized my email was going to their spam folder. Then I've had others who just went through hard times and dropped out of sight for a while, but it means a lot for them to know you stick it out for them in the long run. Then there are others I guess... who just disappear and don't give a crap. But I never want to believe that! :)