Real Life: the bully

I came across this essay I wrote in October 2014 while looking through my computer files in an effort to clear things out a bit. I don’t remember exactly what was happening in my life at the time although I believe it was health-related: 2014 was a banner year for that. I didn’t know it at the time but it was about the midpoint of 5 years of incredibly challenging, and sometimes dark, times

October 6, 2014

Reality barged into the remaining hours of my Zen-like vacation much the way a bully interrupts a child’s game of kickball turning it into dodge ball, or bombardment as I knew it growing up. The name conveys the game’s aggressive nature, bombardment with the weapon of choice or dodging same.

In this case, the weapon was the reality of everyday life. Not just the dirty dishes and the laundry and the housekeeping but the tragedies: a parent lost to death, a marriage lost to infidelity, a beloved pet lost to age and infirmity. As I write this I realize I could easily be talking about my own life over the last 2+ years but in this case the losses are those experienced by friends in the last 2 days.

My role, as it has been for most of my life, is to be the protector, the mediator, the consoler. I can’t stop this reality from forcing its way into the lives of those I care about but I can provide solace.  I can be a sounding board, a shoulder, a worry doll, an ear to hear the pain and heartache, to send it out and up, to relieve the heaviness of it so they can make space for peace and love.

The bully cannot be contained or punished into submission. It is unapologetic, unyielding and unkind, like the bullies we knew from our playground days. These bullies, these realities, cannot be avoided or cajoled; only confronted and managed. And they make us stronger in their wake.

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