Loving people is a stupid idea

Love is dumb.

There. I’ve said it. Surely we have better things to do, like look after ourselves and our own. Makes me kind of wish we were like cats, or lions or something, you know: had babies, grew them up, killed animals, ate them, made babies, moved on, died. You don’t see cats getting all emotional because they wanted to share their kibble with the neighbour’s cat and the neighbour’s cat said no. You don’t see cats caring about much at all, actually.

Some people are like that. We can all, if the truth be told, be like that. We’re all selfish, demanding creatures who love salty food and warm beds and someone who shares the couch and lets us do our own things. It’s considered normal, and considered The Way Things Are.

That’s the way it was for me, really. Until some crazy lady did a Rachel Stewart number on me, and helped me when I’d fallen over in the middle of the race.

Rachel Who?

I don’t know if Rachel Stewart remembers the grade five athletics carnival. I don’t know if the friend she stopped for just before the end of the 100m sprint to help back to her feet again remembers the grade five athletics carnival either, but I do know that those two women, nearly thirty years later, are still friends. She stopped. Rachel Stewart was our fastest runner, and she stopped before the end to help her friend that was down. That’s love. That’s when you know that Rachel Stewart knew what meant more than some poxy ribbon on a pin.
That’s what love is.

She didn’t need to. Nobody needs to do a Rachel. In fact, Rachel Stewart didn’t need to do a Rachel, and when she did it it was Dumb dumb de dumb dumb, and she lost the race.

And once upon a time that crazy woman who did a Rachel on me knew what it meant as well. I drove her crazy. A few times. I probably put her through hell and back a few times as well, and I even did the famous SDCU* on her and decided that I’d stuffed things up so badly I could never ever love anybody again.

We do that. We all do that. We turn to our Rachel Stewarts and give them the finger and then we beat them in the next race and not think about it till it’s too late and we can only hope to God they might forgive us, and then we swear we’re never ever going to race again, poxy ribbon or no.

Tell you what, I’m glad that once upon a time God did a Rachel Stewart number on me. He did all right. And that’s the only reason I’m back lining up for the race at the moment.I’m back there on the old New Norfolk oval staring down the white lines on the grass and eyeing off the sports teacher holding the ribbon, and just a bit worried that that starter gun is a real one.

I’m going to run.
I’m looking at the people who are racing with me. None of us are that great, or that pretty, or that cool any more. And none of us are ever going to make the Olympics.
but together we’re running this race we call life, and this time I know, because I will always remember the ones who stopped for me, that no matter which one of us falls, I’M gonna be the one this time to stop and do a Rachel.

Care to join me?

*Super-dooper cock-up. See the last blog post.

And on the subjectof mistakes…

There’s this bit in the Bible that says (basically) when we stuff up we know about it because our conscience tells us so. And if we don’t feel it in our conscience then (unless we’re loony psychopaths – okay, that’s my addition, not the Bible) we’re probably okay, and we don’t need to worry.

Easy, eh? It’s a built-in kind of self-regulator. We stuff up, we feel bad, we say sorry, we get forgiven, we move on.

Got that? Right.

Well, here’s my True Confession:

About ten years ago I made a stuff up so bad it could only be described as a Super-Dooper-Cock-Up (to be henceforth known as the SDCU). It was bad. I felt terrible, and it broke apart one of the most beautiful friendships I’ve ever known. Yes, it was that bad.

Ten years.

She forgave me, kind of, and I forgave myself, kind of. But the trouble with SDCUs, and especially for people with long memories (like me) is that I could never really let it go. How could I have been so dumb? Even worse, how could I have been so dumb and been so convinced of my rightness for so long? How could I have ignored what must have been thumping in my conscience?

I didn’t really tell anyone at the time. Mostly because the one person I would normally have told was the person I’d just done a SDCU number on, and I couldn’t be in the same room as her any more without crying. It was that bad. I knew what I’d done wrong, the memory of my stupidity wouldn’t leave me, and I vowed never to do it again.

The thing is though, we move on. Time heals, and even the biggest SDCUs get papered over in the rooms of our memories, till all they are is a lump in the fabric, a scar where a wound used to be, and that’s pretty normal. You learn to live with these things, and you learn not to put yourself in situations where you’ll do the same thing again. It’s okay. Even SDCUs are okay when you can learn from them.

A few months ago, however, I was praying and God dropped this thought in my spirit, this thing that I just had to do, and, like most times when God tells people to do something, it freaked me out completely, and the only thing I could think was “But God…I can’t.”

Come on God, seriously. Don’t you remember about the SDCU?

And that’s when I realized.

It wasn’t my conscience condemning me at all. It wasn’t God. It was me.

There absolutely WAS a Super-Dooper Cock-Up: but it wasn’t the dumb thing I did to my friend. That was forgivable, and should have been moved on from years ago. No. The real SDCU was not talking about it to anyone, and allowing the guilt to stop me from reaching out to anyone for ten years. For that I’m truly sorry.

That’s why I’ve made my July 2012 resolution: I’m going to keep talking about how I’m feeling, and I’m going to keep blogging. Stuff-ups happen. All the time. We’re ridiculously human. But it’s only when we start admitting our faults to others and listening to our consciences rather than our emotions that we can really stop the cycle of the SDCU. What do you think? It’s scary, but do you care to join me in this big endeavour?

Uh. Oh.

I learned a hard lesson yesterday. And, to make matters weirder, I learned it right here.

Yes, you learn things about yourself when blogging. And, unfortunately, you learn them in publc. Actually, I think learning things in public is my destiny. And no, I’m not particularly happy about that, but I’ve tried the other way and it doesn’t seem to work.

Here’s what I learned:

Just coz you can write pretty doesn’t mean that you make sense.

Sometimes you still need to WAIT before you send.

Or talk.

Or make big decisions based on what you think is true..

 

But do you know the even better bit of that lesson?

There’s forgiveness. And grace. And mercy. And favour. And love. And we can move on and forgive ourselves and not think that we’re the stupidest people that ever set foot on the planet, and we’re not sixteen any more, so instead of our friends thinking “Ewww, how on earth did she manage to do something so STUPID?” they’re thinking “Oh man. I do that too.”

And…here’s another lesson that I’m learning right here, right now, today, on my own blog:

That is WHY some of us are destined to learn and fail and grow and make mistakes in public. It helps all the people who want so much to stay private to know that they’re not alone. And that, my friend, is what it’s all about.