Today was a Sad Day

July 26, 2011

Today was a sad day.  There have been several of those lately.  I guess that is a part of growing older.   I guess the lesson is we learn how to weather sad days. 

A friend dies, as we age, we learn to accept that will happen.  We can’t live forever and life seems shorter with each passing year.

Today I had to say goodbye to a young family I had grown to love very much.  I have tried to look at the progression of what happened, trying not to find fault with either side of the disagreement, but finding out why I was not going to just forgive-one more time.  Here it is:  Since this is my second blush with these folks,  I think I have figured it out. 

We live in a drive-through society these days.  Everything is instant gratification.  You want something to eat, you can get it in a drive through.  You need information that used to take 2-3 weeks to track down (learning along the way),  you now Google it and voila, It is there three fold.  You don’t even have to LEARN anything or remember, because it is always right there to grab when you need it again.  Information is wonderful.  Computers are wonderful.  Instant is wonderful.  But young people today do not have to have patience, or respect someone with more experience than they have.  They are experts at everything except relationships. If something goes wrong they are simply not equipped to deal with loss or rejection.  Maybe they haven’t had enough sad days yet.  Dreams lost.  Hearts broken.  But the hurt and heartache are what make us better people and stronger.  I keep telling myself that when my heart hurts.

When I was younger and learning my way, one of the first things I was taught by my parents was “respect your elders.”  Today many young people have total disregard for building relationships with people more experienced than they are.  They forge ahead with total disregard for process or experience.  To respect someone or something you have to have appreciation for that person or process.  You sometimes have to back off and sit back and learn how to have a long-term relationship.

When I was 30 I can’t imagine talking to someone my parents age with rude,  disrespectful words.  Words that can come out of a mouth of someone I love.  But out they came.  It wasn’t the first time, but today it was the last.  I would rather lament the loss of friends, than put up with and watch myself or others be treated this way.

Today was a really sad day.

ADDENDUM:

Here is a friend’s response that is simply beautiful:

 Personal hurt and tragedy are to people, what war is to countries. War shapes countries. Defines boundaries, establishes what a country is or is not. Determines it’s leadership.

Personal hurt does the same for us. It deepens us, gives us respect, humbles us, strengthens us, hardens us against what is to come. We all have our hard days. Some have had more than others. Having been homeless, hungry, unemployed, etc. has shaped me into what I am today. Other people’s pain has shaped them differently.

What I see today from most young people is that they have parents who enable their terrible behavior. They protect their children from the pain they need to feel at a young age. When I spoke disrespectfully to my parents, I got knocked in the head. Those lessons got well learned.

Sometimes the best lesson you can offer a young person, is no assistance at all. Let them fail. Let them experience the pain they fully deserve. Let them grow from it. Let them have the most precious of gifts. Time.

 

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