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not all wars are ours to wage


There is a certain wisdom in taking a step back. In allowing someone else to breath. In giving someone what he/she might need, without he/she having to ask. I like to give people what they need. I like to anticipate what might make someone’s life better. I like to be that person that makes you smile.

But, here’s the thing: I’m not always good at it. Sometimes, I make mistakes. Sometimes, I get lost in my own head, and I don’t even realize what I’m doing. And yes, sometimes I try too hard, because let’s face it: I’m all heart. I’m skin, bones, muscles, and emotion. This doesn’t exactly make for the most logical, or even rational, human being. I’m well-meaning, but I screw up.

I read people very well, except in some instances, where I go all CareBear – that is to say, I’m too emotionally involved to think straight. And it makes me stupid, sometimes epically so. Once your heart’s involved in all comes out in moron. You see, I’m stubborn. There are times where this is a good thing, and then there are times where it’s bad – where it keeps me from being wise. And then I stop considering what someone else is thinking, or feeling, and I’ve forgotten to look at things from someone else’s perspective. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does? I hate it. I get mad at myself, because there isn’t a whole lot you can do, except take a breath and say I’m sorry – I was an idiot. We’ve all been there. We’ve all pushed too hard or asked for too much – because of the way we feel.

However, it is very important not to do that. We all arrive at certain thoughts, feelings, or emotionally availability at our own pace. It never does any good to run headlong into a mountain. The same goes for people. You’ll just end up with a headache. And probably a concussion. Even an emotional concussion is a bad thing. (Fire bad. Tree pretty, folks.)

I realized this morning that I push certain people too much, sometimes. Generally, I’m not someone who pushes anybody, and yet – there are I am, acting like an idiot. I could tell you that certain people push my buttons, priming me for that kind of behavior – except the fault lies with me, since I’m the only one who controls myself.

I talked, once, about being a fight rather than a flight. But what I failed to mention was that sometimes, you have to stop what you’re doing, take a breath, and come back to center. Nothing good happens in the middle of calamity. Nothing productive is going to occur if you stop seeing the other person and start flailing haplessly. Sometimes, the best wisdom is space. To let somebody breathe. To let somebody be. We’re all ready in our own time. And if we care, if we love somebody, waiting may suck – but it’s inconsequential in the end. Because it’s just time we take to give someone else what they need.

This morning, my best friend reminded me that I’m a strange creature when I know what I want. I am hyper-focused. I put all my cards on the table. I’m not afraid of a fight, even when I should be. But there’s something to be said for letting someone else wage the war. Because not all battles are mine to fight. Not all armor is created equal. And sometimes, even when we know a battle’s necessary, we get scared. We want to run away. We want to avoid. That happens to everyone.

And it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be confused. It’s okay to wish that things were different, or that something wasn’t happening, or that were easier. Sometimes, we just want to pretend that things are okay as they are – just for a minute. Because change is scary. And so are feelings. Feelings are terrifying. Realizing how you feel about someone and how much you care? Holy shit, man. It’s enough to make the most rational person freak out.

There are times in life when waiting is not the only option, but it’s the wisest option. You can be ready for something, for someone, for change, for an opportunity – but sometimes, you don’t get to decide when that moment should be. You just have to be ready for it. That decision might lie in someone else’s hands, and you have to take a step back – and wait.

Not all wars are yours wage. Not all battles are yours to start. You fight when the opportunity arises, not before. You don’t run, but you don’t push either. There’s wisdom in that. There’s honor in it. It might be hard to let go of the idea we always choose those moments – but no man is an island. No life is untouched by others. Nothing is as simple or as hard as we may try to make it. Things are what they are.

Sometimes, the only wise thing to do is to wait. Sometimes, that is the bravest thing. For me, it can be the hardest, because I want to fling myself in the middle of things. But I am crazy. And crazy only gets you so far.

  1. Liz
    November 2, 2012 at 10:51 am

    It is wise to let go sometimes, because we can’t control everything… But that being said, you are not wrong for wanting to fight for something worthwhile. You just have to make sure that all parties are as willing to fight as you are, or else, you really are going headlong into a mountain.

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