16 April 02
"There may be more than one entrance, but I know one gate to hell: it's in my mind. It is as distinct and boundaried as a room, it has a door. Here is where I store the thoughts that separate me from love: phantoms of fear, panic, helplessness. Every wrong I've ever done remains here, critiqued and recorded. I am judged harshly by whatever resides here.
"The most interesting aspect of this inner damnation is how distinct it is. As I lie in bed waking to the day, I flip through channels of thought as clearly different from each other as radio stations. Before I rise, I choose to proceed along a spiritual and creative path. I will not go to hell. I close that door, choose love. This is where I begin over and over again."
Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest
I have not chosen hell, but have I chosen love? I honestly don't know...
Last week, someone I was beginning to think of as a friend, disappointed me, and
Yesterday, another, one whom I thought of as a friend, and I parted brass rags.
In both cases, I have decided, quite deliberately, not to make any amends. This is a difficult choice, and not without risk. And yet, I believe it to be the correct course in both instances.
In the first instance, in the case of the incident involving the new friend, I made an honest mistake, but an embarassing one. I apologized. But all I received in reply to my apology (written), was "Received your note thank you," followed by a request to perform a minor, unrelated, favor, easily done (and I did it), but that was the whole of the reply. No word of comfort was offered, no reassurance was given that my mistake had been understood and forgiven. Nothing.
In the second instance, in the case involving my beloved friend, we were both at fault, of that I am sure. We were both nasty. We both said things we meant, even if only unconsciously, to be hurtful in spite of the smiley emoticon appended.
In the first instance, the decision has been made because, after careful consideration, I do not believe I wish to be friends with someone who has so little consideration for another's feelings.
In the second instance, the decision has been made because I need to know whether this friend cares enough about me and my friendship and there is a question in my mind! to come to me, to make the first overture. I ask, "How much do I matter to you? Are you willing, perhaps even eager, to let the friendship go?" I need to know the answer to these questions. We were thrown together, and I simply do not know whether this friend even likes me.
But what is my obligation? Why do I not choose, simply, love? Why do I not take the initiative? Make the overtures? Fix everything? Because that would be wrong. Others must learn lessons, too. "We shall allow them to acquire merit," the old lama would say to Kim.
I hate that I can't fix everything. I hate that everything isn't under my personal control. I hate that I can not choose simple love and have everything work out right.
I love these people, the one who was becoming my friend and the one who was is? my friend. That's as much as I can do. They've got to choose love, too. They must choose to make things right this time, or we are lost...
I hope they choose love, friendship. I hope they will come to me. If I see a friend coming, I will run to meet him.
Waiting, however, will be pure hell...
And don't even think about what it will be like if they never do come.
Definition of "to part brass rags" from the Kipling Society:
"Fall out with one another. In the days of the spit-and-polish navy of the 1890s to 1914 (and between the wars) two sailors would share brass polishing gear (polish - 'bluebell' polish - and rags - more often cotton waste): 'he puts it on, I polishes it off'. So, if you were no longer sharing 'brass rags', you were no longer friends. And one's particular friend (these are all lower-deck terms) was one's 'raggie'."
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