In a way I was a little disappointed. Sure, having the extra kitties was great, but my friend had always surmounted the odds and kept her furry family together. I simply expected that she’d do so again. I had faith that she’d always pull through for her furries and herself. This time she didn’t. She was giving up her cats. She’d keep her dogs, but not the cats. It was too difficult to keep six cats with no place to live. Two of her cats had already gotten lost. She was tired of the struggle. It could have been a “feel superior” moment, as many people (including me) had advised her to rehome the cats awhile ago. I didn’t feel superior. I felt compassion. I felt sad. I still have faith in her pulling through. I should probably tell her so. She could use more than silent compassion right about now. If I am to be her friend I will be her friend all the way, not cheat myself or her of real, open, honest friendship. When our time together is done, she and I will part ways peacefully and naturally. Until then, she’s a part of my life for a reason.
The sad thing is, I easily felt compassion for her cats, who’d been through all kinds of craziness in the past year due to their human losing her home and livelihood, thus landing her in that scary category of “homeless”. I realized I was so busy being mad at and/or frustrated with her for various and sundry unimportant things that I forgot to feel compassion for her, too. “Hang your head in shame” time. It’s always easy to feel compassion for people when you think they’re “victims” of one sort or another, but let that ego get in the way (the same ego that makes a lovely assistant or servant but horrendous leader – yeah, THAT ego), start dishing out judgy cookies and BAM!!! Preachy Highandmighty comes screaming to the fore! The worst part is you can always find someone to wag tongues and shake heads in agreement with you. Boy, those judgy cookies start leaving a hole so big that you’re never satisfied and you just gotta chow down on more of them to try to fill that gaping hole of emotional starvation you’ve created from your cookie fest. Like Gabby Bernstein says: it was time to check myself before I wrecked myself. And FAST.
I often vacillated between “is she is or is she ain’t my friend,” accepting definitions of friendship that didn’t match my situation from society, other friends and family. I was frequently told how this woman wasn’t a friend to me, though I was being a friend to her. Ooh, the judgy cookies! Sometimes friendships aren’t obvious in their equity. I have since come to realize she is as much of a friend to me as she is capable of being at this point in her life. Sometimes a friend is your friend when they need help even if it seems like the person you’re friends with is endlessly needy. You do what you can, maintain your sanity and boundaries and help them as guided. You never know when you may need similar assistance. Or maybe that’s why you’re here: to be a friend to those who need but have trouble finding kind people in their lives. Be a doormat? No. Like I said: maintain your sanity and your boundaries. But DO be compassionate. Allow the Lady to gift you the people who will most help you grow, choose your friends on a basis other than what they can or can’t give you. Try not to dictate to the Lady (Who knows so much more about our needs and path than we consciously do) what your teachers should look or act like. There will always come a time when we will act oddly in the eyes of others or be in need of kindness for whatever reason, when we may have nothing but our very small feeling selves to offer anyone. Like attracts like, remember? Don’t let your time of need be the time you realize with shame you haven’t offered compassion to others in similar situations.