Monday, February 24, 2014

Human beings are complicated.

Earlier this month, I read the book My Husband's Sweethearts by Bridget Asher. As with any book, I imagine it could go without saying (yet here I am, saying it) that when I picked it up, I hoped I would enjoy it. I ended up being surprised just how much it has lingered with me, though. There were quotes and chapter titles that have really resonated with me.
He stops, puts his elbows on the table, and leans forward, closer to me than I expect. "Human beings are complicated," he says softly, as if he's confessing to his own faults.

I read that sentence and then I just stopped. I mean, it isn't like it takes a dictionary and some heavy duty thinking to understand that group of words, just felt like this profound revelation. Even more than that, though, it's a really good reminder -- especially for me, lately.  Human beings *are* complicated. There is so much more going on than most people will tell us, even those we know (or think we know) best. The surface is merely that and often the complex emotions and circumstances are hidden beneath the surface, which so often is more reflective than open to the depths hidden beneath. It's not just others, either. *I* am complicated as well. Complicated doesn't have to mean "drama," but there are complex layers to everyone, myself included.
At Some Point Each of Us Is Someone Else's Bad Guy

This one was a hard one for me to look at. I don't like to think I've been a "bad guy" for anyone, but if I'm honest with myself, there are times I know exactly for whom and how I was a bad guy. It doesn't have to be intentional or even known by me for it to be true. And maybe I've been a bad guy even more than I am aware. I am certain there are people who've been bad guys to me and never had the first clue. It's a humbling thought. Just another way that human beings are complicated, I guess...
We Are the Stories We Tell and the Stories We Don't Tell

I've been thinking about this one a lot, as it is particularly relevant to what's been going on in my world over the last year. I've thought about the stories I've told and those I haven't, and *why*. Why do I choose to tuck some stories out of view, rather than share them? Am I hiding it? Treasuring it? Afraid to be vulnerable? Worried I'll be judged? Waiting for a better time? And why do I choose to share some more readily? These are not new thoughts for me. I know I tend to hold my cards close to my vest on many occasions. But I've recently become painfully aware of the stories of others -- those that they choose not to tell, those they choose not to tell *me*, and the effect this bears on the relationship. That's a lot of heavy thought to contemplate.
We need to love each other again, with all that love entails -- even the hard things, like forgiveness and acceptance.

Sometimes loving people is easy. We have good times, make good memories, there's laughter and happiness. But, here it is again: human beings are complicated. Sometimes the "biggest" loving comes in the form of forgiveness, of accepting a decision we don't understand or like, of putting aside our feelings temporarily to listen with an open heart. Love isn't just good days, it's hard times too...or it isn't love.
We each say what we have to say, and we will spend this long afternoon crying and laughing at the same time, so much so that I can no longer tell which one is the truest form of grief.

This is so beautifully composed. I've attended enough funerals and the associated events to know that there are equal parts healing to be found in both laughter and shedding tears. They relieve different types of emotional pressure. They are opposite ends of a spectrum and yet, at the best of times and at the most difficult, they can become entwined. But it isn't true just of funerals. I've found that most difficult situations can be tackled with a combination of laughter and tears, feeling the hurt, while remembering the good.
There were some unexpected life lessons, things to chew on, hidden in the pages of that novel. Some things I'll turn over in my brain for a good long time, I suspect.

0 with their own thoughts:

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