In analyzing the sort of songs I relate to very well, I pondered that I like a lot of songs that deal with leaving. In the course of my life, I’ve done a fair amount of uprooting myself and putting myself in places I do not know well as a stranger. To be honest, I’ve done enough leaving in my life. It’s not something I find enjoyable, and as a person who finds it difficult to feel comfortable, taking the time to develop roots in a place that is supportive and in the context of loving relationships is something that I would like. It a seemingly elusive goal, though, at this stage of my life. Perhaps it will become easier with time; when one has well-practiced one way of behaving it is difficult to develop competence and confidence in other ways of behaving.
When one is dealing with stressful and unpleasant situations, one naturally faces the dilemma of flight or fight. The flight can be literal (like packing your bags and trying to go far away from your problems) or keeping silent in situations where one has difficulty in articulating what one thinks or feels, or any other number of responses that deal with avoidance of the problem. Fighting can be physical violence or, more commonly, arguments and unpleasant scenes full of discomfort. For those who are skilled communicators, there are often ways of avoiding these two extremes, but developing the necessary practice to find honest and open communication with others can someetimes be a difficult task, as both parties have to be willing and able to discuss matters openly without hostility.
What I have found is that leaving tends not to resolve problems. To the extent that an important element of our problems lies in ourselves, leaving as a habit tends to further complicate and entrap us in our problems. Over and over again we see the same patterns, wondering to what extent the pattern is due to the behavior of other people, and to what extent the pattern is due to ourselves. For myself, I find that the thorniest and most vexing problems of my life deal with the nexus of trust, respect, intimacy and love, and communication. Over and over again I find myself pondering the factors that make it difficult for other people to communicate their concerns and boundaries with me, and what could be done on my part to make that task easier. Whether I simply must learn to be more patient and let matters take their course on their own or whether there is something I need to do (or whether I do too much as it is) is sometimes a matter that is beyond me.
One of the most difficult scriptures for me to apply is the one that says, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Eternal.” Standing still, being patient, not doing anything, is something that I find to be a bit of a struggle. I always want to see whawt I can do to make a situation better, but sometimes one has to do nothing and get out of the way because one’s well-intentioned and sincere efforts will only screw things up worse. It is not an easy task to know when to speak and when to be silent, when to act and when to refrain, and I will not claim to possess enough wisdom to keep my own life from being more complicated and less pleasant than it has to be. I’m sure that most people who know me can attest to my good intentions, but sometimes in life good intentions just aren’t good enough, and I have seen my fair share (or more) of those moments.
Often when people run, whether their running is metaphorical or literal (or, in the most frustrating of cases, both), often that is a sign that someone is simply unable to express themselves in such a way that they think they will be respected and heard and listened to. It is one thing to know that one thinks of others with respect, is a patient and understanding listener, and is willing to respond thoughtfully and positively to what others have to say (especially if that message is given with respect and consideration). How to build that trust and communicate that regard are not always easy tasks. As someone who is admittedly a bit of a flight risk myself, being a nervous and anxious person by either nature or nurture (or both), I certainly understand the same tendencies of others, even if I lament when others engage in those behaviors with me. But truly, I would like to find a better way to live, and a better way of interacting with others. How to do that, and how much time and effort (or patience) is necessary to do that task is something I do not know and may just have to find out at some point in the future. In the meantime, I suppose I will try to make the best of it. I’ve missed enough people who are gone, and enough people have missed me; it would be nice just to have well-functioning relationships of many kinds in my life and enjoy that, as time and circumstance permit.