I have a bleeding heart, and I have known this since I was small. When I was a child, there wasn’t a kitten on the farm that I didn’t rescue from it’s circumstances and bring in to try and save. Some of them were far too little to survive the cold out when their mother had abandoned them, and some of them were too far gone by the time I arrived. Most of them didn’t make it, and at first the heartbreak in the fact that I couldn’t save them was unbearable. It would leave me crying, and my mother would hold me and try to teach me that death was a part of life, and that it wasn’t my fault that the small creature had died. However, it was in my nature to blame myself on some level. Perhaps I didn’t do enough, and perhaps there was something I missed or screwed up that would have saved the helpless thing had I figured it out. It’s silly I know, but I still hold small amounts of guilt for the kitten I accidentally rolled on in the grass when playing with it, and I still hold guilt for the hamster (though it was pretty old) who I came home to find dead in it’s cage with an empty water bottle. Now I know that chances are it wasn’t my fault, but I still hold that small traumatic event in my memories, and I still feel that small twinge of guilt. Blame it on the bleeding heart.
As I grew into a teenager, and even to an adult, I never stopped trying to save things. I adopted both of my cats from Heaven’s Gate Animal Sanctuary because I couldn’t bear to see them in the cages crying at me in Petsmart. I kept bringing in sickly animals to nurse, and when one wouldn’t make it I would convince myself that I had done some small amount of good by making their last few hours or days better. They had seen tremendous love and had a warm bed and a belly full of kitten formula, which is more than they had experienced for the first part of their little lives. Don’t get me wrong, some of them lived. Gizmo was a kitten that I found in the pasture and brought inside, and she’s still alive and reeking havoc at my parents house, as well as Mad Madam Mim who was a little kitten I found at my grandmother’s house who was so very nearly blind from all the sickness. She’s still a sneezy strange little thing, but she’s alive and happy and brightens up every time I visit. I think she knows my voice.
The point I am trying to get to is that I don’t think I’ll ever get past this part of me that is always wanting to help people. Nor will I get past the part of me that feels bad when I cannot. When I see someone hurting, I want to take on that hurt for myself because I know I am strong enough to handle it and I want to spare them the pain. Even though I know that I cannot do that, as it is their lesson to learn, I still ache to save them from it. Over the years, I have had to learn that I cannot save everyone, no matter how much it hurts me to have to stand back and let them experience it for themselves.
Now, I’m also a firm believer that we are in each other’s lives for certain reasons. I believe that we meet people because they have something to teach us and to help us with at that time when we need it. The Universe never leaves you unprovided for entirely. Sometimes I feel that so strongly, and a few friends that I have in particular I have no doubt in my mind that I am here to help. What I do doubt, is my ability to. I figure that God/Universe/Goddess/Deity (whatever you believe in) wouldn’t have pushed me to help if I couldn’t do it, I just don’t know what exactly it is I am doing. My purpose is clear, my method is not, and sometimes I feel like I am failing as a friend. Where are my limitations? What exactly do I do, and what do I leave up to these friends to do for themselves? Am I only support? Or am I supposed to be a proactive catalyst for them to move forward?
On another note, this is not a completely one way street. These friends are helping me by teaching me. The circumstances here are gifts to me I believe, as they will help me grow and prepare for any helping I do in the future. Even right now, I can see how deeply they are affecting me and how much I am growing on a personal level just by knowing them. They are truly amazing people, even if they don’t always see it, and how I wish I could make them see themselves the way I see them. With non-biased and non-judgemental eyes! I can see so much beauty, and I am constantly shocked when they tell me what they see in themselves, because I don’t see it like that at all. All I see is beautify and light, and that overpowers any of the darkness there.
So how do you show people? I can put a mirror in front of them and say “Look, you are beautiful! Look at that smile, and those eyes, and all the depth and light that comes from them both. You brighten my world!” They will then look at it and see something entirely different, and tell me that my opinion doesn’t count because I’m their friend and so I am biased. How wrong they are! We are ALWAYS more biased against ourselves than others! Being a friend is not being blind to faults, it is being able to see those faults and choose to forgive them because your friend is important to you and that stuff doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things.
Wow this got long again… I never intend for these blogs to be as long as they end up, but once I start writing it just keeps spilling out… Maybe it’s finally time to start writing my novel again, because my muse seems to be making her way back into my life, and that’s fantastic! I’m also thinking I might look into going into either psychology or social work for a career. With my drive to help people, and the way I perceive things, I might be pretty good at it. What do you think?