“Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
~ Albert Camus
I met a new friend today for coffee and was carrying on about people as we were leaving. And she said something to the effect that she thinks we just want people to walk with us, when so many try to fix.
Yes. My God—I felt so understood.
So often I don’t want advice; I don’t want to feel judged—and I definitely don’t want to be confronted or criticized.
Life confronted me enough in the last six months: my marriage was not what I thought it was. My husband is not who I knew him to be. My home is no longer where I live.
And life continues to confront me with these truths.
Change happens and when it comes like a hurricane and takes all you know, all you want and need is kindness and love. And though this was last summer my truths are still finding their shoes so I can walk with them. And my life is not a done deal. My marriage is not over, yet.
I am healing.
And I am doing fine on the whole. I teach. I made a new home. I am making new friends. I am expanding my professional horizons. I am reading lots of books. I am growing and changing.
And I have softened some when I to can carry an edge. But honestly, when I am upset with how things are, the last thing I want or need is a friend telling I am not tough enough, I am not doing things right, I am being too vulnerable…I cry enough all by myself without friends bringing me to tears with their good intentions, intense energy and lack of understanding.
Sometimes all anyone needs is for someone to understand you are doing the best you can. And I believe my friends are doing their best in their way. But when their best helps me feel worse then I know, next time, who not to call, where not to go, and how not to share.
All I want usually is someone to walk with me, to listen, to acknowledge that my hurt Is real. Isn’t that what we all want, to be seen for how we are in any given moment? And if my best isn’t good enough then something is wrong.
I know life isn’t fair. And we rub against each other to learn and grow and become more of who we are.
I think I have learned to soften, to let go, lace each breath with compassion, and understand beyond the misunderstandings.
So just walk with me. I’ll try not to step on your toes if you try to not step on mine.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons