Response to a Friend. Yes, I Have Changed.

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“You have changed!”

People say that to me with an accusatory tone. I am not sure how they expect me to respond.

If I have not changed in a year, in 10 years, I would be sadly disappointed in myself. I work hard on making sure I have changed. I spend time with myself. I put effort into learning. I ask questions. I research. I listen. I pay attention. The call is always to deepen my understanding, to push beyond the comfortable, to not be satisfied with status quo.

I find out over and over again that my understanding was limited, superficial, and even completely wrong. That inspires me to dig. I cannot continue to say and do the things I used to say and do when I know that they no longer serve me because I have found so much more. It will mean that I may not be on the same page with people that I once was.

Of course I have changed.

I can only be who I am and that is a living breathing person who grows and changes with every passing moment. What are we doing if the life that we live, the people we meet, the situations we find ourselves in, the experiences we have, do not change us? Life breaks us down. It wears our bodies down and out, it breaks our hearts and blows our minds. It challenges us and humbles us. It elates us and depresses us. It ebbs and flows sometimes a raging stream of events and at other times barely a trickle of a stream. It leads us to the height of mountain tops and to the valleys of darkness. What would we be if we were not moved and changed and growing with the impact of all these things?

A rock?  Dead?

I have lived a hundred lives. I have played a thousand roles. I change constantly and the only thing that remains the same is the part of me that is open to it all, willing to risk, to lose, to make mistakes, to be wrong, to be defeated, and broken . . . but always willing to get up again and go on. I choose to live. I embrace it all and I hold fast to what fuels my fire, my heart, my being . . . love.

Don’t call me back to fight the fight of over a decade ago. I left that place the moment I turned. I never asked you to stay there waiting for my return. I never promised to return. If you heard those words then they were whispered from the darkness, or perhaps from your own need, but never from my lips.

The sad part is not that we are on different pages, we are all on our own page.  Do you have any idea what a miracle it is to share a page with someone even if it is but a moment?  No, the sad part is that you see my being on a different page from yours as a negative and you use it to beat me down, to make me feel bad, or that I failed you in some way, or worse, that I have failed myself.   There is no” right” or “wrong” page. There is no “better than” page.  Sometimes we teach, sometimes we learn.  Embrace it all.  Don’t be afraid of the unknown, the different, the new . . . no matter how wonderful what you cling to once was.  I promise you there is better and so much more on the road ahead.  Life invites us to expand and grow and move.  It unfolds before us in ways that are unique for our hearts and our journey.  Do not ask me to stay here.  Do not make me the keeper of your comfort.  I cannot do that.   I will not.   And neither can I see bad, or feel sad because that is what it is for you.  Us being on different pages was always the case, is the case, will always be.  It is the way it is meant to be.  It is all good.  I am good.

This is me.

So please don’t hold on to who I once was. That is holding on to the past. Don’t praise me for my past nor condemn me for it. I am a work in progress. I am here now in a state that will last only for this moment. In the next moment that occurs in my life I may be gone, I may be forever changed by what happens, I may step through a window of understanding beyond all imagination, I may lose my way for a time, I may be given pain beyond my very breath. I am ready for it.   If I were not, I would not yet be here.  Whatever is given to me, I will use as a tool to build me, to look within, and to discover more.

And it will change me.

We only have this moment. Honour it. Honour the friendship and the experience but never, ever, wish it, or me away because I do not fit what you needed me to be.

Your need is about you. It has nothing to do with me.

If you need to let go, let go.

It will not change my heart, or my love for you.  I only wish you could do it without needing to strike at the air around me with words like knives, wishing me poorly.  You can blame me if you need to but you will not inflict the damage you might hope for.  Your words may be arrows aimed at me but they speak only of who you are.  I have not disappointed you.  You have disappointed yourself.  You see, blame does not even exist. It is only a cowards wish for avoiding responsibility.   We create our responses to difficult situations with feelings that offer us two choices, to either search inside from where they arise, or deflect them with angry blame.  Blame is what we push on others, responsibility is how we take charge of ourselves.

Perhaps one day you will be able to love me.  Perhaps you will one day understand that love is an unconditional acceptance of people as they are and not as we wish them to be.  It is selfish to insist that people exist only to gratify your needs, and it is incredibly limiting.  You deserve so much more than that kind of love.

I believe in you.  I believe that you are better than this.  I know, if you will open your heart to your own yearning you will find the understanding that will bring you peace.

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