A Heart Two Sizes Too Small

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I watched “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” tonight with Lola.  She has been singing the song from that movie all week long, and we finally decided to watch the DVD.

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome Christmas,
Christmas Day.

I’ve seen the show many, many times, and I was only watching halfheartedly.  Something struck me as I listened to the words tonight.  When the Grinch witnesses the love and kindness of the people of Whoville,

“And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!”

It’s the same old story, and it’s a beautiful story.  It’s the same story that has been told over and over in so many ways, many versions, and in every language.  For as long as human beings have been telling stories, this basic theme has been a part of that tradition.  A troubled character is touched by love, and some momentous positive change occurs.  This type of story is  more than just a “good vs. evil” tale.  These stories are lessons.  They attempt to teach us that not only does GOOD win over evil, but that if we are good enough; we can actually change evil INTO GOOD.

Earlier as I was driving home from work, I was had been remembering a “friend” that I had once believed in, championed, supported, and defended.  It was a classic case of throwing good deeds out there one after another in an attempt to douse the flames of evil.  I had excused insensitive behavior over and over again.  I forgave lies and half-truths.  I had forgiven this person for horrible, hurtful things without even the decency of an apology.  I had let bygones be bygones even when no attempt had been made to rectify the misdeeds.   I thought I could teach kindness.  I thought I could show by example the true value of friendship.  I thought I could convert Bad to Good.  When that failed to happen, I blamed myself.  What had I done wrong?  Where had I gone wrong?  Why wasn’t my love, friendship, kindness good enough to make a difference?  I had failed.  I hadn’t forgiven enough.  I had stood up for myself too often.  I had put myself first instead of my “friend.”  I had failed.  This person never changed, just as everyone around me had warned.  In fact, the situation continued to worsen until I had finally had enough.  I walked away from the situation feeling defeated, battered, and beaten.  I had failed.

I thought about this “friend” once again as I watched The Grinch.  Again, I felt the sting of my failure.  No, I wasn’t able to bring the Good out from under all of the Bad.  Yes, I failed, but I also learned a valuable lesson.  It is not my job to try to change other people.  Some people move from person to person taking all that is offered until there is nothing left to give.  While that is a painful lesson to have learned the hard way, I wasn’t really the loser in the end.  In the end, this person is still messed up, while I have learned to acknowledge and cherish the real and honest goodness that already exists in the people who are a positive and giving part of my life.  Those are the people whose hearts are NOT “two sizes too small.”

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Snakes and Other Dangerous Creatures

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This blog post has been brewing for a few days.  It wasn’t until very early this morning as I sat drinking coffee with T that I even began to attempt to put the words together.

T and I had fallen asleep on the couch as we often do on the weekends.  We watched a movie all snuggled up and warm on the couch.  When the movie was over, we turned on an episode of The Office.  It was the one where Michael proposes to Holly.  I had watched it the other night with Em.  It was so sweet that I wanted T to see it, too.  I loved watching it again, and I loved seeing T smile at all the right parts.  Even after the show was over, we stayed in our spots on the couch.  We halfheartedly talked about getting ready for bed, but it was so warm and cozy.  We were so sleepy and so comfortable.

The next thing I knew, it was morning and T was in the kitchen brewing a pot of coffee.  I wandered in with a smile on my face and told him that I was kind of enjoying our weird pack mentality when it came to sleeping.  There is something so delicious about drifting off to sleep right where you sit compared to the formality and routine of getting ready for bed.  He agreed.  Falling to sleep like that is wonderful, but damn, are we ever sore in the mornings from sleeping all night in awkward positions.  We laughed a little more as we both stood there trying to stretch out the kinks.

These odd sleeping arrangements have become our habit as of late on Friday and Saturday nights.  We skip the bed and the bedroom.  We nest and nestle in for sleep wherever we are comfortable at the time.  The best thing of all are the mornings.  It is just the two of us wandering around downstairs.  We haven’t had the luxury of lingering over coffee and conversation in the kitchen for many years.  Strangely, I am reminded of my grandparents.  As a child, I can remember waking up at their house and coming into the kitchen as they both sat at the table sipping their coffee.  It was a warm, peaceful feeling of contentment to see them there.  Now that is T and I.  It makes me feel old, yet content, all at the same time.

As we finished up in the kitchen this morning, I told T that I was going to go upstairs and write before the girls woke up.  He stopped and looked at me.  “What are you going to write about?”  He had never, ever asked me that question before.  I have been blogging for two years, but he has never asked me one question about it.    I don’t hide the fact that I’m writing.  Many times I have come to him to talk about a particular blog post or a comment that I have received.  Until this morning, though, he has never asked me what I was going to write about.  Today he asked, so I poured another cup of coffee and asked him to join me at the table. Continue Reading »

Ugliness

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My hearts is tender.  It is battered and bruised today.  Well, my heart has been battered and bruised for quite a while.  It’s a good heart.  It wants to be happy and filled with joy.  In fact, my poor little heart jumps at the chance to believe in happiness.  My heart leaps when it thinks good things are about to happen.  It wants to believe the best in other people.  It wants to trust.  It wants to believe in the innate kindness and goodness in the other hearts it encounters in this life.

No matter how much the rest of me experiences, my heart remains so very innocent and vulnerable.  My heart is in charge here.  My heart guides me and reacts to my experiences in life.  Sometimes that is wonderful.  As I said, my heart it sweet.  My heart is what enables me to see the wonder of the world.  My heart is what helps me see the beauty of nature.  Where my brain sees a dog, my heart sees a friend.  My brain sees a shedding cat, but my heart reminds me of the times that shedding furball roams around the house crying out “Ma!  Ma!” until he finds me.  My brain sees the filthy homeless man who wanders around near my office each day on his bike packed with his earthly belongings, but my heart wonders at his story.  My heart is what makes me go out of my way to say hello to him each day.  My heart is happy when my hello brings a smile to this mentally ill man’s face.  My heart does a good job of helping me see the wonderous, miraculous, good in the world  Even at this very moment, my brain is smelling brownies fresh from the oven, but my heart is making me love T for knowing that my day was rough and chocolate would help.

That’s one reason I love my job so much.  I can use my brain to make a difference, however small, in the world.  That makes my heart happy.  It’s frustrating though sometimes.  Sometimes making a difference means that the bad guy gets riled up.   The fight against injustice isn’t easy.  Think about it.  If injustice exists, then that means that someone, or many, are having a good old time getting away with unjust behavior.  Who wouldn’t be happy to be the guy on top?  Who wouldn’t be happy to be able to get away with whatever they wanted and have the folks around them turn a blind eye?  Yeah, that  kind of person who is going along just fine with their life of unethical behavior isn’t very happy when Pollyanna comes waltzing in and saying “Hey!  That’s not fair!  Yes, those rules DO apply to YOU.  No, you are NOT able to twist and turn those rules to suit yourself as you see fit.”  No, the bad guys don’t like that at all.  Bad guys don’t like truth and fairness..not if it mean that truth and fairness is also applied to them.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a letter that had been sent to City Hall full of criticism and complaints about me.  Oh, how that hurt my heart!  Why would someone take the time to do something so rude and cruel?  It wasn’t the words that hurt so much as it was the image in my mind of someone actually taking the time, taking time out of their life and their day, to try to hurt me ON PURPOSE.  That particular incident has escalated.  The more I thought about that letter, the greater my concern grew.  The letter contained out and out lies.  If I didn’t have the respect and support of my co-workers, if that letter had been taken seriously, it could have seriously damaged my career.  Losing my career would have an impact on me AND my family.  Why would anyone want to hurt my family?  It scared me to think of the ripple effect that such a letter could have caused in my life.

What if this guy continued to cause problems for me?  Could this crazy person cause so much trouble that I was no longer an asset?  Would I become a liability?  What if he was relentless?  What if it was easier to get rid of me than to deal with this nutcase?  OK….yeah.  I was becoming obsessed, which is really nothing new.  🙂  I spoke to my boss about my concerns.  Once again, I can’t say enough good about this man who is my boss.  We were friends before I ever took this position, and I can’t imagine anyone I would rather work with.  There is such a bond of trust between us.  Someday I will write an entire blog entry about our history together.  He is my friend, and I can’t imagine a time or a thing that could ever change that.  He and I have shared significant, life-changing years of our lives together.  When I met him, he was a man married twenty-plus years with a small child.  Now…he is a gay man in a committed relationship.  His strength in dealing with and facing major honesty and changes in his life continue to inspired and impress me.

He listened to me, and he understood my concerns.  We consulted with the legal department, which really accomplished nothing, but did calm my fears that I would be hung out to dry.  While my fears of personal career damage have been calmed, my fears of personal safety have increased.  I knew that this person had a history of run-ins and confrontations, but now that I know even more, it is unsettling.  There are three current restraining orders outstanding, countless cases of legal action and false accusations.  Last weekend, a fast food worker was attacked by this man.  Charges are pending.  The list goes on and on.  The more I learn, the more confused I am about WHY this person is able to skate so close to the edges of the law and still manage to walk free.

Today I had lunch with two victims of his harassment.  They had not known each other prior to their common problems.  The issues he has with them are unrelated.  They both carry mace.  They wanted my help.   What can be done to protect us from his “legal” abuse?  He has done nothing illegal yet, or nothing that can be proven.  Even as I write this, I am worried.  What if he reads this?  But why would he?  How could he?  I write, because this is MY blog, and I refuse to be afraid.  I will not alter my life due to this.  I don’t like bad guys.  I have plenty of reasons not to like bad guys.  I don’t like people who think they can live blamelessly as they hurt those around them.  I have reasons to dislike that, too.

Yes, I will get involved.  I will help.  Once again, I find myself among strong women.  Together, we are strong.  More than once, it was said, “It feels so good to know it’s not just me.  I feels so good to know that I am not alone in this.”  Bad guys don’t stand chance when strong women stand united.

Today I was reminded of so many other times when my heart has hurt over selfish, thoughtless, ugly meanness.  I remembered the first time I when I really knew that my heart was tender.  It was two days after my dad died.  Never before had I felt so alone in the world.  I had lost the greatest love I had ever known in my life.  I had lost my safety net.  I was raw with pain.  I was driving to work that morning.  My dad was not yet laid to rest.  The funeral was the next day, but I was driving in to my office for an hour or so.  It was bitterly cold.  Although the traffic here is never really bad, it was rush hour.  I was on the expressway at the busiest overpass.  Some cars were entering.  Some were trying to exit.  Cars jockeyed for position.  Ahead of me, a car signaled to change lanes in order to exit.  Instead of letting the car change lanes, the car in front of me purposely sped up and then slowed down simply to make sure that his fellow motorist would not be able to exit as he had intended.  As I watched it happening, I began to sob.  My heart was so hurt.  My recent losses were so fresh and painful.  My heart could take no more, and the pain overflowed.

I remember how that senseless cruelty hurt me on that day.  When I pulled into the parking lot that morning, I had laid my head against the steering wheel as the knowledge of man’s inhumanity to man washed over me.  Why?  Why do human beings have this horrible capacity of cruelty inside of them?  That day, I cried for the man who had not been able to take the exit.  Where had he been going?  What if he was going to visit a loved one in the hospital?  What if, like me, he was hurting from a great loss?  Why is it so much easier sometimes to hurt people than to be kind?  Shouldn’t the desire to allow the guy to change lanes outweigh the desire to fuck up his morning?  I don’t understand such behavior.  Thankfully, I don’t understand.  Hopefully, I never will.