The wind is gently whistling through the trees of this cold, Fall night. I roll over and can hear the deep, steady breathing of Nicole's sleep. Unfortunately, I can't find my own sleep, again, because I keep thinking about two brothers in the small village I'm from...their farms were located on opposite sides of a hill. But it wasn't a hill that kept their brotherhood separated from each other. Their story makes me sad. I suppose they just didn't know how to resolve whatever conflict was between them. It's ironic how their situation somehow strangely mirrors my own conflict with a former friend. It's not merely three houses that keep us separated from our friendship. It's my pride. It's his pride. And nothing that either of us seems to do can bring the healing and resolution that each of us seeks.
The truth is, I had written a different blog entry over a month ago, but I can't publish it. Although it was a beautiful anthem about brotherhood and how to resolve conflict, the honest and heartfelt apology to my friend felt somewhat unsettling. Every word I wrote...it is so true. I am very sorry for my part in this conflict...I wish that I had known about Adult Post Bullying Syndrome years ago...and how it effected things. My buddy certainly didn't deserve a friendship based on insecurities. But as I've been reminded, I also have a duty to love myself...and a duty to show others who have been gripped by bullies that they are worthy of being defended and that they can end the cycle of being bullied...and I have a duty to be truthful, yet loving, to my friend and his wife (someone who I also considered a friend). But communicating all of this in the proper manner is a huge challenge...a challenge that even Nicole (as truly brilliant as she is) has difficulty in advising me on.
A few months ago, I memorized the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13...it's the "love" chapter in the Bible (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13&version=MSG). I recite it by memory almost everyday, because I need a reminder to love the lovable, as well as those who are harder to love. Without this daily reminder, it's easy to forget that hurt people hurt people...and that hurt people need the most love. I don't care if you're a Christian, a Muslim, an atheist, a Wiccan, or a Buddhist or whatever...love is love is love in any language or religion. And we need more of it. I need more of it...because I've been hurt, too...just like most of you. But I haven't been so hurt that I can't love those who have hurt me...honesty is a sign of love...if given the opportunity, I'd say the following:
"Dude. I tried pushing my way in when you tried telling me that you needed space. That was wrong of me. I became "needy" when I panicked at the thought that I was losing my best friend. Although these three words don't feel adequate enough...I am sorry. I never took a moment to consider what you might be going through...I only looked at things through my fear...and that was selfish of me. I wish you could somehow understand just how sorry I am that I contributed to this mess. And I also wish that you could know just how grateful that I am. I was honored when you wrote to me that I was your "best friend / brother in the entire world". I was honored when you asked my family to hang with your family every Sunday. I was honored when you told me that "wherever I go, you go". I was honored that you introduced me to others as your children's uncle and that you asked Nicole and me to be their god-parents. I was honored that you invited Nicole and me to drink wine on your beautiful patio anytime that we wanted...even if you weren't home. I was honored that you asked me to travel to your home state with you and to even plan to go on tour together. I was honored you invited me to be your 4-day-a-week workout buddy...it was a blast keeping up with you. I'm grateful for how you inspired me...and encouraged me...whether it was with a pat on the back or through one of the seemingly endless inspirational quotes that you emailed or an out-of-the-blue text just to check in with me. And I was honored that you demanded that, if our friendship ever fell into conflict, that we should resolve it...even if we had to duke it out on the phone in the middle of the night. And I was honored to reciprocate what you had offered to me...a picture of what a close friendship could look like for anyone. Were we attached? You betcha. Did I need to be flattered in such a way to be your friend...to help each other to get ahead in life...in relationships...and in music? Not at all. But I did feel very comfortable in the space that you reserved in your life for me and my family. That "brotherhood" you invited me into? That's why...out of all of the people on this earth...you were the first person I found courage to confide in about a large burden that weighed on me. I trusted you with my fears and hurt and shame that bullying brought to me. I just needed a buddy. And when you needed to pull away, I panicked. Because of this APBS stuff, I thought you were ashamed of me...that you hated me...and I just needed you to still see me as the friend that I was. For as complicated as APBS can make things , my unwanted actions were based on one very simple truth: I just wanted you to still be my friend.
Remember what I said earlier? Love is love is love. That's even true of tough love, because people should be able to say anything to each other...as long as it's said with love, right? So to be respectfully direct, I need to ask you to stop twisting my story...stop twisting my actions. I don't have any "attachment issues", as you claim. Rather, what I have is a "you're-not-hearing-me" issue. The things that you both accused me of are hurtful and wrong...and I'm defending myself...it's time that I break these bullying cycles in my life...it's over. It's been two years. Please have the courage and respect...both of you...to apologize for your words. And the way you're treating me and my family hurts us very much. Not waving at each other...not saying hello to each other...not talking things through and burying the hatchet...that is not Light & Love. You were one of the most positive and hopeful people I have ever met, unless I didn't know the real you. But like you said one time, I knew you better than anyone...and this is completely out of character for you. Isn't it easier to come together rather than avoiding and ignoring us? It's clear that you feel hurt, too, but it doesn't have to be like this. Nicole and I agree...our door is always open to you and to your family when you are ready. The bottom line? Even though I don't miss the rollercoaster, I do miss you a lot, dude...and I should be able to say it without fear that anyone would twist my words to mean something ugly and impure."
And to everyone else, if you really want to try resolving a conflict in any of your relationships...be it with a spouse...a child...a store clerk...or even a very good buddy, all you have to do is:
1) Pray or Meditate;
2) Set aside your pride and ego, because someone needs to be the first to man up;
3) Admit your own faults...be clear and honest with yourself about your part;
4) Apologize with a whole and authentic heart...no faking it;
5) Air your feelings with pure love and truth;
6) And pray more...pray that love has the power to overcome the dark.
Think about it...God put all of us here on this earth at the same time. Why? Could it be so that we learn how to get along and to love each other? That's our true, common purpose for being on this earth...purpose is not about a career path...or to obtain masses of money...or notoriety...all of that stuff is secondary (and almost useless, if you ask me). But our main, common purpose that we all share is this: To Love One Another. If you don't practice that basic purpose in your life, nothing else will matter. That's a phrase worth repeating...Nothing...Else...Will...Matter. We should feel honored to share this space together! Could it be that we should be gifts to one another...and that between us and through us is how God works his miracles? Think about it. Til next time, live magnificently...and love each other well.