One Hundred Sixty Three: Growing Up the Hard Way

“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence./Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance./Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence./Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” – Yoko Ono

Thursday, June 12th

A friend came over to pick up a painting he’d let us hang on our walls for several years. It had been a turbulent time in his life, and he felt the painting should be hung and enjoyed. We gave it a prominent spot in our household. Our children have literally grown up with that image in their world. The painting will be missed, but it was time it returned to its owner so it could bring a spot of beauty and healing into his world.

This friend had been the personification of “exuberance” when I met him. Flirtatious and bright-eyed, he was excited about music and community. He was married and was considering starting a family with his wife. His father – who lives abroad – passed away. He flew home to help his family cope with the devastation as well as keeping business matters in order. He found out his wife was pregnant. He jumped between continents to support family. His mother’s health declined, and she passed away. His wife had a miscarriage. She became pregnant again. He continued to run his father’s business abroad and his children were born a world away. Finally, they divorced and now he is here trying to be a father to his children.

Now when I hug him I feel his reluctance not his outpour of enthusiasm. When he smiles, his face is wrought with wrinkles. I believe he has participated in creating his disappointing situation just as much as his ex-wife has, but it is disheartening to see the anguish on his face and know that this is what his children see and experience when they visit.

How do you help a friend who has a deep and complicated sadness?


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