Death of a Spirit

I recently spent a little time with a childhood friend.  This woman always had the sweetest, most loving spirit.  Seriously, she’s one of those people who was kind through and through.  I see her infrequently and had noticed during our last couple of visits that her spirit seemed to be fading.  This visit I was hardly able to see it at all and, frankly, I did not know what to do with that.  If this meeting was a test, I failed miserably.

Do you know someone like that?  Someone whose spirit has been killed by an abusive parental, spousal, or work relationship? Someone who’s made some bad choices and hasn’t been able to move past them? Someone who maybe was just dealt a raw deal and has given up?

Edinburgh angelWhat do you say to that person?  What do you do?

Their soul needs encouragement more than any other; but, I find myself unable to offer it properly.  I think some of the problem may be my victim/volunteer philosophy.

People are victims of abuse. They struggle with mental illnesses and physical challenges not of their making. They are subjected to stressors that break them.  Initially, they may be unable to control their exposure to these stressors; however, at some point, they make the decision to stay in these abusive or just unhealthy situations.  Or, they choose to remain untreated for their mental or physical issues.  At this point, I believe, the person goes from victim to volunteer.  Knowing myself and how I think, I’m pretty sure this philosophy is a radical over-simplification of the situation.

How does one person become Naomi Judd (and if you haven’t read 20 Choices to Transform Your Life, I recommend that you do) and another one become Hedda Nussbaum?  How does one person chose to fight to live every day and another chose to roll over and die, if not physically, then spiritually?  I don’t know.

I do know this: it’s not easy for any of us – well, no one I know, anyway.  We all have struggles.  We all have crosses to bear, so to speak, even the “don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” woman. Shoot! Even Ann-Margaret has had her share!  For all of us, we have overwhelming days and circumstances.  That’s why we build and maintain positive support systems for ourselves and why we are part of those systems for others.

I saw a meme today that said, “Keep people in your life that truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, inspire you, enhance you and make you happy.” With the exception of that last thing (I don’t believe other people “make” us happy), I agree 100%.  I would take this a little further and say that we should strive to BE a person who truly loves, motivates, inspires, and enhances the lives and happiness of others.

Okay, so with that, here’s my goal for today: be the kind of friend I want to have.

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