Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Scarred Path...

This is a subject that i have thought about for countless hours (mostly while standing over a chunk of wood spinning on a lathe at 3200 rpm). Its really neither pleasant nor caustic, it's just my perspective. I have finally decided to write this out, without really knowing just how far i will walk down this particular path, or which forks i will decide to take.

Tonight, i was checking e-mail and noticed that my old roommate from college was requesting that i add him as a friend on Facebook. I couldn't believe he had actually found me! It was really kinda nice. Of course i added him, we had been dang near inseparable during high school and then into college. We had some really really good times, and great talks, he was a great friend. He was there for me through some of those really difficult times one faces in the high school and college years. Then, something happened...i was never really quite sure what...it was just like the friendship slowly circled the drain and finally...nothing. After college, it was like he had dropped off the face of the planet. I mean sure, everyone, EVERYONE goes their separate ways. You have the opportunity to befriend someone for seasons in your life, and then that season is over. But this seemed different, i don't know...just strange how there was such a good friendship and then in a matter of a few months...nothing. I always wanted to get back in touch with him but was never really sure what to say, because even after all this time, i never really knew what happened. But now, it'll be good to catch up with him and his family, so i'm glad for the contact and really looking forward to corresponding with him like opening a bottle of 18 year old Glenmorangie.

But, that's not really why i'm writing about all this. There is a deeper sentiment. A deeper...struggle.

In forty years of life, i've made a number of friends, some lifetime kinships, some merely evanescent companions. Reviving any of them would be a joy to me. Fortunately, in a couple instances, i've had the opportunity to be able to do just that and its been such a warm reunion. Yet, of the many, there are very, VERY few that i care nothing to restore again. THAT is what this is all about. Of course, there must be some reason that i would have such convictions about those chosen ones, and it centers around a very ugly word...betrayal. The word in and of itself contrives ghastly images in the minds eye at its utterance. I've felt its hideous teeth, and i've struggled with the wound ever since.

For the word to have any sense of power, there must first be friendship, deep and lasting. There must be things shared, there must be...a bond, yea...a covenant. Then comes the time when that covenant is broken, and not so much just broken...severed. Irreparably. Though i'm sure in some cases, there can be reconciliation of sorts, but for me...i don't know...i... just... don't... know.

Yes, there has been contact. Yes, there has been forgiveness, not necessarily asked for, but given. For my own sake, i HAD to. Because after years of constantly begging the question...WHY? I finally resolved that it was not something i had done or not done...it was just the way the world and its populace executes life. But now, as a soldier at some point looks back at a particular battlefield, and thinks, "You know... it happened...its over, and i'm good with it... but i don't really ever care to see that place again."

Yet, within me...there is the question left begging when something sparks the memories of time spent...why?... WHY? I just wanna know...and in knowing...would it really ease the pain of the throbbing scar? And that being the case...have i really REALLY forgiven? Is betrayal something that can be forgiven but not necessarily forgotten? Can one eventually forget? Can i? Will i?

It is said that time heals all wounds, but in some cases there's that ugly scar, and when it gets bumped on occasion, and those memories flood in like so much blood...

and for some reason, that is where i am tonight, looking at that scar...wondering if it will ever fade like so many others have on my outer carton.

Am i thankful? You bet! Am i grateful? Absolutely! I have a virtuous, priceless jewel for a wife, and four little precious stones that i love tremendously. I have a good family that i treasure. I now have friends...no...i have family that don't share my earthy blood that i consider beyond calculatory value. And i thank my God that He has brought me through all that to have all this...

But on the occasion that the scar gets bumped, and i remember...

well...still, even after all these years...

it hurts.


Bag Blog said...

Very deep thoughts! Friendships come and friendships go, but some will stand the test of time. Toby and I have moved quite a bit in our life together making good friends where ever we have lived. I noticed that many of those friendships just drop after you move away - no matter how much you try to stay in touch. Those people can only deal with the here and now, the present. Once you are gone, you are gone from their lives. Those failed friendships are probably our fault - we moved - they stayed. Yet, some friends have stayed through the years. Sometimes we drift away and not communicate for years, but when we do get back in touch, it is like we have never been apart. I think the key here is smoothing out the scar - letting go the hurts - real or imagined - being prepared to love again. Hmm, I could write on and on here, but it might best be discussed over coffee or beer.

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

Beer first! Come to think of it...i still have some for ya!

Rave said...

You may never know the 'why.'
Who's to say their 'why' will even make sense to you? It may have made sense to them at the time, and not now...it may not have made sense to them then, either.

The 'why' is irrelevant.

'Why' indicates the want of knowledge- the want of being able to place a certain action into a certain position in your mind....because we all have a predisposition to neatly categorize circumstances in our life.

What really matters is how it made you feel, and can you get over that feeling to move on? DO you want to get over that feeling?
You hit the nail on the head when you asked, 'Can I? Will I?'

THAT is the true question.

Can is ability. Will is permission. Do you give yourself permission to be vulnerable again?

The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

"It may have made sense to them at the time, and not now...it may not have made sense to them then, either."

Whether it made sense to them or not...I would take issue with that in the basic tenet of betrayal. Its not an accident or even the "permission vs. forgiveness" argument... that one simply does and apologizes for later, its willful intent.

Which in my world view, legitimizes the "why?".

But, i definitely agree with your question of "DO you want to get over that feeling?" and have considered it many times...the answer obviously is "yes"...as soon as i know "why?" ;) Because, then, as you said, i can neatly categorize it, file it, and move on with..."oh...ok...well that was a stupid reason."

And vulnerability within the scope of profound kinshhip for me is not even a thought...like i said...i KNOW now that the friends (for lack of a stronger term) i have now would never consider such peccancy.

Buck said...

Is betrayal something that can be forgiven but not necessarily forgotten? Can one eventually forget? Can i? Will i?

Well, now. This is, as Lou noted, some pretty deep kimchee.

I'm not sure that betrayal can actually BE forgiven, no matter what anyone says. I suppose most people believe all things are relative, but I have a few absolutes when it comes to values... and it's when one of those absolutes are shattered that "issues" with forgiveness arise (with me, at least). Shorter: some things are easier to forgive than others.

I've been wrestling with the most profound betrayal, compounded by lies and denial, for nearly ten years now. I've been unable to forgive or forget.

Do I want to forgive? Yes, and the fact I've been unable to do so is not for the lack of trying. CAN I forgive? Apparently not, at least where this betrayal is concerned. And "forgetting" is simply out of the question. I'll forget when I quit breathing, not before.

My $0.02.

Rave said...

I understand your position, though do not agree with it.

I stand by my statements.

And it's good to know one can have discussions of such nature without fear of condemnation.
Learning how to 'agree to disagree' was one of the hardest things I ever had to learn.

Rave said...

Oh- and just to let you know- betrayal does not always come on the heels of 'willful intent.'

A few months ago, one of my best friends of many years went through a tough patch with some family problems. Her family and mine are closely linked, and something I did, thinking I was protecting her, ended up hurting her. To her, I betrayed her.
No matter what I said, did not matter. No matter the reason I gave, did not matter.
She was hurt, betrayed, by my action.

This is just ONE example of the 'why' and how it does not matter.
My friend had to get over her hurt, her anger at my action and when she did, things were back to normal.

Betrayal is not always willful. It all depends on your point of view. Perception is reality.

Anonymous said...

So, Rave, someone felt betrayed by something you did because they didn't know why you did it. Sounds like the "why" may be important afterall.


The Friendly Neighborhood Piper said...

Bo, when are you gonna start blogging again? Since you do qualify as my blogfather. I know, i know...you SAY your a better commenter than a writer, but...i would say that short, witty, yet profound posts are so needed in this sphere of extended treatises.

Rave said...

Bo- Did you miss the part that said, 'No matter what I said, did not matter. No matter the reason I gave, did not matter.'


Doc said...

Gotta post an English professor sort of comment here, whether or not anyone's still listening.

Why does matter. It matters because in any good definition of betrayal, willful intent is required--sorry Rave. What you inflicted on your friend was an accident, a misunderstanding. It was unfortunate, but not a betrayal. That doesn't make it wrong to say, "She felt betrayed." But I frequently feel rich even though the numbers in my bank account haven't changed. It's fair to say she felt that way, but you unduly burden yourself if you assume the weight of guilt for a "betrayal" you never intended.

The clearest explanation of my view on this was something I explained at length in another place some years ago. I've posted that explanation over at my own blog, lest I get far to windy here. Bottom line here though, you need to let yourself off the hook on that one, and your friend does too.