During the past few days I must have thought a hundred times about one of my blogging buddies. I’ve never met Barbara, and I know only as much about her as what she posts on her blog. (I think about my virtual friends as if I know them in real life--see this post from back in September.)
Barbara's been telling us lately about the heartbreaking effects of her son’s drug abuse. I can relate, having been close to someone with a similar struggle, someone who was the most incredible person on earth. Until about his thirteenth beer.
Like many of her readers, I left a comment on Barbara’s site, hoping my words would somehow help. I shared the most important piece of advice I heard back in my own dark days when I first came to Las Vegas, and I want to post those words here as well.
One night, about six months after I’d blown out the last candle of hope for my marriage, I attended a free lecture by a spiritual teacher named Bijan. He explained that people are either going up, going down, or they're hovering where they are in life because they can’t decide where they want to go.
When people are on their way up, he said, you want to support them to help their energy rise, to help boost them to where they need to be.
People on the way down, however, must reach the bottom before they can go back up, and so you have to get out of their way; they can’t go back up until they experience the lessons they need to learn at the bottom.
We want to help them—it’s human nature—and it has to be especially hard, as in Barbara’s case, to watch your own child struggle so. But we can’t learn anyone’s lessons for them, and sometimes by helping, we get in their way. We prevent them from learning the lessons they need to learn, and so it will take longer for them to head back up.
Sometimes a path is wide enough only for one person; some legs of a person’s journey must be walked alone. We just have to get out of the way so they can get to where they’re supposed to go.
Easier said than done, but I know from experience that it works; my ex and I have enjoyed a loving relationship since our divorce over five years ago. Looking back, I realize I could have saved myself untold turmoil had I not resisted so much, had I not been so goddamn hell-bent on jamming the square peg into the round hole, had I accepted the simple fact that—guess what?—people don’t always act the way you want them to.
You can always love the person during their hard times, just know when to get out of their way.