A time ago, we’d won the game. But it didn’t matter.
I was torn up. Emotionally drained, and mentally wrung out. Even as we celebrated the victory in one moment, and I attempted to celebrate with friends, I was watching the self-destruction of someone I loved, from a faraway distance, completely unable to do anything about it.
This was not for a lack of effort. I’d pleaded to help, for them to let me help. I couldn’t, but I didn’t know that then. Not when they’d kept me at arm’s length, insisting there wasn’t anything we could change. They were right, but not for the reasons I’d thought. Finding that out later didn’t make me feel any better.
Looking back, there’s a bitter quality to it, where I would wonder why I’d invested so much into the relationship, or salvaging that portion of it. I’d put myself out there, more than I ever had, to see it come to nothing. And there’s no worse feeling than that… it’s helpless, to know that things are beyond your control sometimes. It’s a tough lesson to learn. It was for me.
I’m a guarded man because of events like this. Because I can’t help but push harder in moments where someone is lacking, insecurity dictating a desperation that maybe some would have lacked. I wanted it to work. I NEEDED it to be solved. But it didn’t happen.
Maybe that was for the best, but looking at an old wound, I can’t help but feel it still hurt.
Yesterday, we lost the game- but it didn’t matter.
I wasn’t torn up- not right away, anyhow. I wasn’t thinking about the game then… my mind and my focus,was elsewhere, with someone else. We were talking, and wondering, and thinking. About life, and struggles, both little and large. Life hasn’t gotten easier since we hit adulthood… the choices had just gotten bigger.
Over the distance, even as they struggled, and I struggled with them, there was a comfort to it. As a man uncertain about himself, it’s almost comforting to know that others are uncertain too. To see someone’s vulnerabilities, and know that they’re your own as well. For them to share it with you, is just as rewarding an experience as having the courage to share it.
I talk a lot about sports, and it’s moments like these that remind me that they don’t matter- that even as our country bemoans a loss, I wasn’t as distraught as I might normally be. I was glad for having helped someone. I don’t consider myself a strong man, so being that strength for someone is something I get a lot out of.
I need to remember the successes, the times where I can find the fulfillment, the good in people, and the good in relationships. Just as it’s the valleys that make the peaks of life meaningful, it’s that fulfillment and our successes that make the old wounds fade, that drive the uncertainties and insecurities away.
In all things, courage, and not fear.