Friday, November 4, 2011


If I stay here long enough, I swear I'll be convinced that I'm stone nuts. I may be, but the critical piece is that I'm not yet convinced. I attended a lecture today entitled "Beyond Forgiveness." It's a topic in which I have great interest not only because I need and seek forgiveness, but also because I need to forgive. In other words, I remain in a perpetual state of humanness. The philosopher posited that we have moved beyond what he called a traditional notion of forgiveness that is/was based in religion (mainly Christianity). Old forgiveness required interaction between "sin" and the divine. Beyond forgiveness removes the "sin" and the divine. Forgiveness becomes a function self-help or self-healing. The talk was challenging, and I'm not doing it justice, but I'm tied to traditional forgiveness, contrition, repentance. If this is religious (and I don't believe it is), then that's okay.

I've lost several "friends" during the past two years, or perhaps I'll say I've lost people with whom I used to interact from time to time. At least one of my closest friends suggests that my way of being in the world alienates people. I'm too harsh, honest to a fault, intense. I do, however, bring that same intensity to love and friendship, and I'm as hard on me as I am anyone else.

I wish I could figure out who people want me to be. Rare is the occasion when I simply insert myself into the lives and affairs of others. Under most circumstances, I'm invited in via conversation and confidence. I listen and usually try to help. When I'm involved, I'm there--in deep, working hard to slog through the mire with my friends. I never seem to cross the line when I'm giving my time or my money or my service. I've never had anyone disassociate because I've given too much. Nope. It's when I speak to something that seems, in my world, to be immoral or unethical or just wrong. There's the rub. Rare is the occasion when you can look a person in her eye and offer a negative criticism--then you're harsh, hard, cranky, crabby.

I so look forward to boarding that big ship in a few weeks (yes, weeks). I need a change. I need new critical eyes and ears. I need to feel as though I'm starting fresh and clean; trying myself out on another bunch of people; doing a reality check. I have equal doses of excitement and fear. I can't bear the thought of being away from my sweetie for such a long time, but I do so want to go on this voyage.

This is what I've learned this week:

Ethnicity trumps longstanding friendships, showers, babies, loyalty, and years of listening to someone's sorrows and woes.

My gut is never wrong. If it says something ain't right, it ain't. I should always listen to it.

People don't always stop speaking because they're angry; sometimes it's because they know you've told the truth; sometimes it's shame.

Some people are mean, nasty, spiteful, hateful, gossiping liars--even those who have accepted your love and generosity, and sometimes KARMA doesn't work.

Some people are just stupid. If I notice that I'm not on your FACEBOOK page, I'll likely NOT just assume that you have a personal issue with me. What I'll do is ask this question: "Why am I no longer your friend on FB"? FACEBOOK isn't life. It's FB.

Connected to the preceding discovery is the ever-growing desire to deactivate and unfriend yet again. Many of my friends are losing interest in FB. I may be hooked, however. I do know that FB is worse than email for serious communication.

As the time for my official relationship to SLU as a tenured faculty member draws to a close, I've not had one hint of misgiving. Now is the time--the right time. I even attended a faculty meeting for the first time in nearly two years. Didn't do a thing for me. Nada.

I wish I were going to be here for Andy's wedding. Don't know why I want to be there so much. Just do.

Concentrating on failed relationships is like focusing on the 3 terrible teaching evaluations in a bunch of 70. It's not the eval itself that's troubling; it's the sense of failure. Relationships require tending, care, water and sun, lots and lots of questions and conversations, deep personal investment in another's being. But relationships take more than one person to keep them going strong.

There are other things that I've learned this week, but I need to sleep.

"Love without conditions; mercy unmeasured."