Thoughts on a difficult time.

‘A friend is someone who walks in when the rest of the world walks out’.  (Anon)

It’s been a difficult time – busy, big issues at home, and sadness.  Dis-illusion on different fronts.

I have been struck by the friendliness and genuine kindness of people around me –                                                                                            people who have I didn’t really know before, but have gone out of their way to offer friendship, show they care.                                                  I hope that I will hold onto the warmth that they have shown me, and be as good a friend when those around me need it.                              I hope that I will have the courage to step beyond the usual social niceties of a wide smile and happy wave when I can see that a familiar, if not well known, person, is suffering in some way.

I have taken time to reflect about life – my life, and how it has shaped me.

I guess we all snatch a moment at times every so often, to work things out and try to understand them and ourselves a little better.

I found this, from ‘Urban’.  I did, indeed, think it was beautiful:

The Most Beautiful Heart Story

One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley.
A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed. It truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, “Why, your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.” The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars. It had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. The people stared. “How can he say his heart is more beautiful?”
The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed. “You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”
“Yes,” said the old man, “Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love – I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.”
“Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges – giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?”
The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect, young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands. The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.
The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.
They embraced and walked away side by side.
I hope that I have the courage to show others friendship and love when they need it,                                                                                                just as some have to me –
that is surely what makes our hearts, lives and the world beautiful.
“If you love someone, you must be strong enough to allow them to be.”  (Anon)
No-body is perfect,
so love – whether for a partner, child, family member or friend, is surely about the whole package…  About what we can give as much as what we  receive – and the security that one gives often helps the other to address their more difficult traits, so that each individual, and the two together, become stronger, better people, partners or friends.
But sometimes our minds get taken up with negatives, or can be tainted by destructive habits.  The focus switches to what we don’t like; the loved person  is lost behind a mental collage of their negative traits –
the focus is on those,  they appear therefore to get bigger.  Positives are not noticed –
this critical focus and judgement is sensed by the other person.
Opportunities for enjoyment are lost in a negative fog which spreads unease and envelopes both individuals.
Constructive criticism, trust and a feeling of security are no longer a possibility as insecurity breeds.
The uncertainty can sometimes turn into a reality, although that was not what was wanted on either side.
In that circumstance, when communication seems impossible, and everything is misconstrued, what is the best thing to do?
‘The greatest act of courage in life is to be and to own all of who you are –
without apology,
without excuses and without masks to cover the truth of who you are’.  
(Debbie Ford
Understanding that we can only be responsible for ourselves,
can’t change another person’s habits or train of thinking without their will…
however destructive those habits may seem to be –
and can’t work together where there is no will to do so.
Sometimes, the only thing to do seems to be to walk away –
however hard that may be to do.
Hoping, perhaps, that it will not be for long…
If only to avoid joining in with a situation of criticism and counter criticism.
An effort to break the destructive cycle of negatives, regain self confidence
and the opportunity to give and have the gift received again…
Hoping for positivity to return,
that the little piece of missing heart will be filled again.
Adel’s ‘Make you feel my love‘ puts it beautifully, I think.
It may be that that hope is in vain,
but it can take a long time to realise.
The heart keeps beating strongly,
but there’s a hole that will never be filled.
I remember this episode of Desert Island Discs –
I only heard a bit of it – was taking a short drive in the car, and the last third of the programme was on the radio.  It resonated, in part.