Tuesday, August 9, 2011


     I want to put my logic and reason all over the behavior of other people so that I can understand what motivates them and why they make the choices that they make. I also have a desire to be helpful if at all possible, to point out what seems obvious to me such that their suffering may diminish, such that unnecessary harm may be eliminated, and wrongful views corrected. And sometimes, reasonable communication is just the thing to clear understanding and get everyone on the same page, but sometimes it is not. It takes two reasonable people to reach reasonable conclusions.
     But there is a whole other category of people in the world- among them the mentally ill, the emotionally sick, and the active addicts and alcoholics. With these folks, no reasoning is possible. They are driven by internal demons so deep and convoluted that reality as the rest of us experience it is warped for them, and we are the ones who seem wildly unreasonable and impractical to them. And it is not their fault that they are sick, or even that they perpetrate the harm they perpetrate, but their behavior takes its toll nonetheless, whether they mean for it to or not.
     A handful of these individuals have always populated my world, and perhaps they populate everyone's world in some way or other. The question is, how do I have compassion and protect myself at the same time, without guilt, and without sorrowful consequence? I think the answer lies in establishment and maintenance of boundaries, and in the honest acceptance of the sickness with which I am dealing. Sick individuals abound. They hold jobs and have families, and may seem normal in the right setting and the right context, but they are not.
     I used to believe that I could heal them with my love. I want to make their darkness and blindness and sickness go away, but when I have tried, instead of healing them, I have become sick myself. Some who are sick may be healed, but it is certainly not for me to dictate who or how. That is God's territory. And I have come to learn that some individuals are beyond help. This fact I find extremely difficult to accept.
     But if I do not accept it and set my boundaries, these sick individuals will traipse all over me and toxify my days. I have to surrender them to whatever God looks after them, and keep my interactions and dependencies on those who have proven reasonable in my life, and those who help me to be healthy. I don't want to be a victim or a statistic. I don't want to be abused or unwell.

I protect my sanity and surround myself with those individuals who can be reasonable. With the rest, I set boundaries, and remain vigilant and on guard.