“… I am sorry to say that suffering is not optional. It seems to be part and parcel of the human condition, but suffering can either embitter or ennoble.” ~ Desmond Tutu
And don’t we all want to be ennobled! I’m sure you’ve known someone who was wronged and never got over it. You listen to them patiently the first nine times they tell their tale and you nod and agree and wish them a happier future. Well, truth be known, I’m probably not willing to listen more than four or five times no matter how much I love the woe-is-me teller. I want to say “Snap out of it!” I don’t usually but I want to.
I remember a time when my mother kept telling me over and over about some wrong that someone had done to her. I’m sure my patience was short because she had been with me for a few days. I was driving her home. I said, “Mom, you need a counselor.” In her inimitable way, she replied, “Hmmmph! What would I want with a counselor?” So I told her I wasn’t willing to listen anymore and she would simply have to pay someone to listen. She was a bit indignant at first. But the more she thought about it the more it amused her. She started to giggle. We both did. Many times in the years to come she would tell family and friends, “Pat told me I would have to pay somebody to listen to me.” (Giggle.) And she did go to a counselor for a time after that.
Funny thing, though, when the proverbial shoe is on the other foot. As I write I wonder how many of my dearest friends have wanted to say that to me in the years since D left. Especially the first two years. I hope they don’t feel the need to say it today. I am so much better.
When D first left I had a friend in church approach me after she heard. Her husband had left her in a similar way years before. I remember telling her that I felt like I was saying the same thing over and over. K reassured me and told me that I needed to do that so that I could start to internalize it and understand what was happening to me. She told me I could call her and tell it to her again whenever I wanted or needed to. If there are angels, K is one of them.
The moral of this story: Get a counselor before you wear out all your friends.