Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - True Colors

Disappointment of any kind is difficult. If we have believed in, or loved, or respected, or trusted someone who then does something to betray our belief, love, respect or trust, it is hard to find any bright side to the situation. We may feel like we are bad judges of character, too naive, too trusting. 

There is a bright side though. There always is - it often just takes more work and effort and faith to find it when we're in darkness. What if we never knew what another person was really like, good or bad? What if we never trusted someone enough, never trusted ourselves enough to get close to people and learn what they really stand for, how they really think and feel? It would be a lonely life. 

The trade-off for not feeling lonely and being close to others is that on occasion, some of those people, a small minority of them, will fail us. Some people that we think well of will let us down. And some times in a few very rare instances, that connection to that trusted person will be irreparable. This price is worth it though when we look around at all the people we have trusted and loved and can appreciate how full and rich our lives are as a result of those people.

And there is one additional bright side to betrayal as well: it opens the way for us to make room for others who will come into our lives some time down the road. I think of it as clearing out the cobwebs, getting my priorities back in line. We no longer need to invest in someone who disappointed us - we can just let them go.

I was talking this through with my friend, John, who has a less-than-satisfying job. He realized just today that a boss he has been slaving away for has hung him and his team out to dry to the company's leadership. And what's worse: his boss is proud of this. I guess he feels more powerful for having done so. John feels terrible though the good thing that he discovered is that he knows who his boss really is now. He had been staying at this company because he felt a sense of obligation to this boss; now he is free from that obligation. It's a hard truth to face down, though clearly necessary. 

My mom has a great saying that she picked up from my grandmother and I am reminded of it every time I hear bad things happen to good people like John. My mom and grandmother say, "God writes straight through crooked lines." Even if you don't believe in God, the sentiment holds. Things happen in our world to send us on one course or another. Our lives flex and change. Joy is found when we can smile through that flex and change and be grateful for the the truth, even if that truth is painful. Joy's not easy though it is always attainable as long as we can find reason and something to learn in every situation. 


Col said...

Christa, this is just the message I needed to hear. I am grappling with a devastating betrayal and the anger and sadness are overwhelming. I know there's hope, though and that as disappointing as this one friendship turned out to be, others are emerging. Thanks for the positive booster.

Christa said...

Hi Col! I am so happy that this post helped you - it's such motivation for me to keep writing!