Thursday, September 23, 2004

noticing the exit sign

exiting takes its own form of grace.

i marvel at my inability to sometimes give in to exiting/letting go even when i can see it as plain as a green neon sign hanging over a door in the darkness. i don't think i'm alone in this.

there's something about recognizing what you want and contrasting it with what instead must happen that for me will be some sort of acquired skill that i must master.

i remember years ago spending time with my good friend jeff, whose conversations always lifted me up and challenged me. during the maturation period of our friendship i would so eagerly look forward to the dialogue that i would forget to eat. food played second fiddle. i ended up losing 25 pounds over the course of a year merely because i wanted to talk and relished listening to what he had to say. talk about a real lover of gab! we would talk about anything and everything, but more often that not, our conversations involved spirituality. and i would always see the telltale signs that the end was drawing nigh- his coffee cup would be dangerously close to being empty, his fidgeting in his chair, but still i held on like a stoic soldier putting up a fight until the end could no longer be avoided.

i can't say that much has changed since those days of dialogue. only that i still fight with reality and try to hold on as long as i possibly can, as if on a roller coaster ride, eyes squeezed shut, clutching the steel bar securing my legs, wanting to be oblivious that the ride will come to an end.

because they always do. and somehow i am almost always saddened and surprised by the end of things.

the other night i had coffee with this guy i had already written into my life manuscript as friend material. my intuition is usually never too far off. we did have a lovely conversation, finding we shared quite a few similarities and discussed the merits of frederick buechner over salad and macaroni and cheese. and though my colleague at work, jacqueline had warned me not to spend more than an hour with him, i found myself in a familiar posture, holding on, squeezing as much from the conversation as i could. so iced tea glass emptied, while my salad plate was methodically being disseminated and an hour and a half later, we both took a cue and exited the cafe, going our separate ways in the night. me, regretful that things had not developed as expected. him, walking home. one thing he said during dinner was about letting go. at the time it sounded terribly profound and almost acutely lacerating into my inner person, hairs raising on my arms, a mysterious light emanating around his head, me wondering if God was speaking through him. i remember it was terribly profound, but can't remember anything other than "letting go..."and then he threw up. just kidding.

the reasons for my stalwart determination could be varied. maybe it's because change, though i embrace it unabashedly, makes me kind of cringe. i love people and being with them but all of the variables are not fully realized, like when you will see the person again, when you will be allowed to probe their thoughts and engage their intellect again. so each conversation takes the form of potentially being the last. maybe i am a true realist. maybe this is an extension of my choice years ago to live a life sans regrets. maybe this makes me a terribly cynical person. what i know for certain is that it is entwined in my intensity.

so little by little i am learning to let go, to open up each finger from the thing which is being grasped. but my heart is still kind of resistant to the whole thing. but this year i have been infusing my life with the serenity prayer, like someone in a 12 step program. i am learning to see that there are some things in life which must be accepted for what they are, and some things that can be changed. it's the grey area of discerning the difference between these two realms that can be a bit tricky.

all of this over knowing when to leave. when to appreciate a dialogue/situation/person for what it is and not trying to make it more or less than it needs to be. leaving takes a measure of grace. and i am in the process of tapping into it.


Post a Comment

<< Home