Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stepping into the Past to find Gratitude

I was on Facebook the other night and a photo album of a friend caught my eye; more accurately, a vehicle I recognized captured my attention. It was an old photo, taken 16 years ago, and yet instantly I was taken back, fully. The emotions of the time; the people that were involved and the timing of the photograph made my heart race as though I was 16 again!

These were pictures of people that were in my “circle”. The pictures were taken at a time when a “friend” that was a few years younger than myself set her sights on a guy that I was off and on involved with. This obviously presented a problem for the 3 of us and in the end they decided to proceed together, and I walked away from them both. So, these pictures captured for me what I had already only imagined and created images of in my mind. They had gone on a camping trip, one that at the time I felt was supposed to include me. I laughed to myself as I looked deeply into the young faces that stared back at me. Some of us were just as I imagine/know we still are today, and others, such as the “friend”, looked like babies. I thought of the range in ages of the people in the group, and I thought of our lives at that time; the things that kept us all together, what drew us to each other.

Then I looked down at the comments on one of the photos. There was comical interest in recognizing the un-named faces and then the tone changed to that of sadness. Someone commented that seeing the pictures made them feel sad, and they added a question; did they hear about a friend that was connected to everyone, but not actually in the picture? Comments end there.

The person referred to was my first boyfriend; the tie that brought me to most of these people in the beginning. In complete honesty, my heart lifted slightly as my heart raced and my mind asked “Is he dead?!” as I read the question. I wanted more, I wanted to know the details of the conversation that ensued. It piqued my interest and I wanted to comment back, “No?! What happened?!” I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t (as of yet…?!) even ask anyone else that would likely know or be able to find out!

I talked to my best friend yesterday, itching to tell her about my finding, and when I did, her response was the same as my own; only she verbalized what I only said in my mind! She proceeded to encourage me to enquire within the larger circle of “old” Facebook friends that I have.

This guy in question; he, for me to vaguely say, had serious issues at the young age that we met him at. He was only 17 then, but already had severe family issues that he was the perpetrator of, although I didn’t find out these details until near the end of our relationship. He was in a foster home and didn’t have much, if any contact, with most of his family. To be blunt and to the point, I will say that aside from the anger, control issues, insecurities and many other things, he had an appetite for young, inexperienced girls. He worked his way from me, to, secretively, my best friend and her younger sister, with another of my younger friends in between! Without further details, I will only say that he was a sick little puppy in those early days of his life.

A part of me feels sheepish as I write; as I confess to such a dark response inside of me. We aren’t supposed to wish ill upon anyone, and certainly not with such finality. It’s not that I actually WISH that he was dead, although, again, I will admit I have had those thoughts in the past. It is more a feeling of relief that he would not be out in the world continuing to have seriously negative impacts on the lives of those around him.

I find myself being captured by the strangest things these days; things from my past seem to come up, begging for attention. Obviously a whisper in the ear that there are details requiring re-examination; as I grow, I need to look a little deeper for the lessons that were there for me to learn. Sometimes, 16 years later is the perfect time to finally “get it” in some cases?!

This time, for reasons that I still explore, I received three nudges in the same moment; three people with meaning came back for a visit and I need to know why. What in my life right now calls for the guidance of the experiences that I lived with these people back then?

Trust; I learned many things about both sides of trust from these three.

Strength; individually, I was forced to learn different things from the them.

Acceptability; as I sit here now, I can see many facets of this that I faced with these individuals. What is and is not acceptable in my life. I also learned about what makes a person “acceptable” or “unacceptable” in the eyes of certain types of people.

Doing wrong to another that is close to you; Ha! With the people in common, where would I begin on the things that I was taught?! How easy it is for some people; they either don’t truly care or they are so blinded by things in their life that they can only operate in ways that fill THEIR own personal “need” in a given circumstance.

I sat explaining my feelings, or considerations, on this subject to my husband last night, and I was relieved to discover that he related to what I had to say. It didn’t seem strange to him that my thoughts were swirling upon the finding of these photos and the heavy/confusing comments that were involved. In some ways, he made me feel more justified in my curiosities; as though I didn’t have the right before?!

While I still have some work to do to understand it all, I will offer gratitude to the universe for these people; the lessons they taught me then and the things that I seem to have to learn from them now.
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