Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Letting People Go

I have never been able to readily let people go.

I am not really sure where this comes from. I wonder if it comes from a deep seated feeling that people leaving means that I am not good enough or worthy of enough to be maintained.  Or it could simply be from a sense of pride, that horrible monster that says  "You do not leave me.  I leave you."

But if I objectively look at the outcome of the last 35 years, I come away with the sense that far more people have left than have stayed.  And the longer I live, the more attenuated the gaps seem to become, until what would seemed to have been a steady course of land stretching behind me has a series of small islands, more and more which seem to be receding into the Sea of Memory.

People get busy, of course.  And in a society where there is a plethora of things to occupy one's time, keeping up with old acquaintances that one has not seen in years and with whom one shares perhaps nothing in common now- or worse, only bad and unfortunate memories- probably falls to bottom of the list.  As, quite likely, it should.

I get wistful, of course.  It is part of the romantic in me, I suppose - wondering what happened to people, where they are now, what they are doing - not that this information is at all inaccessible these days of course:  give me five minutes and two social media sites and I can general find out.

But that is not really the point.  I can find the information; I can no longer find the people.

That is the most distressing part.  It is one thing to have events wander away from us; it is another thing entirely to figure out that there is quite likely a reason that people are no longer in contact with you.

The fault, I suspect, is largely my own.  Contrary to my beliefs about myself, I have created any number of bad memories for others, no doubt.  I have failed others.  I have been unkind with words and deeds.  I have not always treated others as I ought.

And so now, every time I find such an urge rising up in me - the urge to follow a link, to search a name, to linger over a recent picture and memories - I beat it back down inside and carefully lock it away.    People have chosen. And it is far more important that I respect their choice than fulfill any sort of foolish nostalgia I have lingering my mind. 

2 comments:

Glen Filthie said...

You have to forgive them before you can forgive yourself. It’s hard enough to say with your mouth and your head, but you have to have it come from the heart too and actually mean it. Right now with an estranged loved one, I said the words, but meaning them in a way my Maker would approve of... I’m working on it. It’s hard.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

It is very hard, Glen. In that I will defer to C.S. Lewis, who said that sometimes we having to act loving or forgiving until we find that we are loving or forgiving. I do think that God does meet us where are in these matters, but does expect us to go farther.

For me, at least, I fear I am on the other side - perhaps I did things that need forgiving or (equally likely) I no longer added value.