Some days I believe
With all my heart
That telling and living my authentic truth
(My perception of it in that moment)
Is the only choice,
Regardless of the cost.
It feels like
Saving my own life,
As well as the lives of those I love.
I am casting myself out of the boat
That is one person's weight too heavy,
Like Jonah was cast into the sea.
I jump ship
Knowing I could die,
But sure I will if I don't jump,
And certain that regardless of my fate,
I'm at least saving those I love.
And then I wash up on shore.
The whale spits me out.
Death won't hold me.
But it is no Ninevah
When I awake and look around.
It is home.
Or what once was home.
And those I thought I'd saved
Are standing around
Telling me I abandoned them out of selfishness.
I look into their eyes and see
Their visible pain IS their reality.
There are no words I can utter
And no actions I can do
That will change what they experienced.
I can't argue.
They are right:
I wanted to save myself.
And they are wrong:
I would have died to save them.
There's no getting back on the ship
And there's no making them understand.
There's no going back in time
And there's no photos to prove what I did.
I can not ask them to play back a tape
That will tell the story
Of how much I sacrificed.
They have no such tape.
They believe what they experienced:
My jump was away from them.
I can not ask them to mirror to me
A vision of myself they never saw.
Yet I go back to their mirrors
And peer into their eyes,
Looking for the story I experienced,
Hoping to see it reflected there.
Why do I do this to myself?
Is it because I'm afraid to look into my own mirror?
Is it because I've now become afraid
That I will see their story if I look?
And what if they are right?
What if the need to jump
And the threat to their lives if I didn't
Was all in my head?
What if it was something my brain concocted
In a foolish, short-sighted attempt at happiness
Without regard for the feelings of others
I remember how I felt.
I experienced MY reality of my jump
Being an act of courage and even love.
That WAS my experience.
I must extend to myself the same compassion
I hold for them:
I see how they experienced real pain
And that, in their experience,
That pain was at my hand.
What I thought or felt while they hurt
It can not change the reality of their pain.
It can not erase the agony they felt.
It can not be undone.
It can only matter to them
If they WANT to understand my experience.
It can only matter if they haven't built
A new home out of their own victimhood.
It can only matter if I haven't built
A new home out of my own victimhood.
So I choose to leave behind
I choose to leave behind
My need to be understood.
I choose to leave behind
All my stories about what happened.
I choose to stand in the void
With my compassion,
My desire to understand,
And my desire to be part of their healing
Extended in my hand.
I can't arrange to be loved.
I can't insure my heart is mirrored.
I can't be certain I will be forgiven.
I can't count on being seen.
But I can love.
I can mirror.
I can forgive.
I can see.
So here I am on another ship's edge,
Knowing that loving means jumping
Into uncertain, dangerous waters
Without a guarantee
That someone will ever jump for me.
Here I am peering into icy depths,
Terrified I will drown, freeze, or both.
There is no promise
Of lifeboat, blanket or fireside
If I jump.
I only know one thing:
Such a jump by another
Would alter my life utterly.
That's how I know it is possible that this jump
Will help and heal another.
So in I go.