Saturday, 21 April 2018

Love and Vulnerability

Loving someone, truly and genuinely, places us in a position of vulnerability. To love with our whole hearts even though there is no guarantee can be excruciatingly difficult. To remain vulnerable is to determine to love someone regardless of whether love is returned or not. There cannot be love without vulnerability, and vulnerability does not exist for long if we do not choose to love.

Vulnerability may lead to disappointment, to anger, to hurt, to many things, but most of us can roll with the punches and bounce back. Our main fear of vulnerability is our worry that it will lead to betrayal.

Betrayal is an experience that very few of us know how to cope with. Betrayal leads to offense, and offense is a prison that no one escapes unscathed. So how do we deal with betrayal so that we don’t fall into offense? This is a complex topic and there is not the time to deal with both betrayal and offense in the one blog post so I will leave offense for maybe another day.

The answer to coping with betrayal does not lie where you might think.

It is not intuitive to us, nor may it be immediately apparent, why vulnerability and love are the only answers to betrayal. You say, “What!? Wait, that can’t be true. The thing that caused the problem is the answer to the problem? That can’t be right.” But herein lies our misunderstanding. Vulnerability did not cause the betrayal, it only exposed you to the betrayal. Believing that vulnerability caused your betrayal is like believing that going swimming will end in you drowning.

The usual response to betrayal is to either close down or lash out. If we lash out, to hurt in like measure the one who hurt us, we set ourselves on a path to destroy the relationship. Both become hurt, both must heal from their injuries, and both pay a price that is much higher than either realise. This option not only incurs heavy emotional and psychological costs, it establishes a model for future responses when betrayal occurs in other relationships and thereby depletes our ability to be vulnerable with others. Under other circumstances, we would rarely choose an option with such a high ongoing cost.

If we close down we do not avoid emotional and psychological cost either. Closing down immediately stunts our ability to trust, because we spend more emotional capital on shielding ourselves from future hurt. Closing down sends the wrong signal by being somewhat successful in reducing hurt in future relational circumstances. We acknowledge that our hurt has lessened, and therefore consider this model of response to be correct. But closing down forces us to operate in a diminished capacity that includes the numbing of other emotions because we cannot numb some emotions and not others. Our bodies do not work that way. And it is obvious that diminished emotions make us miserable, and that can open the door to depression. Clear thinking would naturally reject this option as well.

When we carefully consider our options we are left with only one conclusion; if loving someone truly and genuinely places us in a position of vulnerability, then love that does not survive betrayal is not true and genuine love. This leaves us with the non-intuitive, unpalatable, ugly, exasperating realisation that being vulnerable and continuing to love is the answer to not being offended.

If you are reading this blog post because you have recently been betrayed, then what you are reading may be difficult for you to accept. Most of us prefer to hide in a cave and lick our bruises when injured, and opening old wounds is never a pleasant experience. I invite you to return to this post when you feel a little stronger because I understand that choosing to love someone enough to allow yourself to be made vulnerable is not a choice for the faint-hearted. Acknowledging that our decision to love will make us vulnerable helps prepare us when treachery arises in our relationships. We become kinder and gentler to those around us. We become more attuned to being grateful and more receptive to joy. We come to realise that the bitter taste of failure does not have to last forever. Love that continues to love, despite betrayal, is a love that strengthens other areas of our life, deepens the affection we have for those we love, and bears fruit in unexpected places. After a while, we discover that vulnerability is not weakness. We realise, in fact, that vulnerability makes room for courage. And courage is something that we all aspire to.

We all struggle with the notion of forgiving someone who has wronged us, and the thought of loving someone who has betrayed us is difficult to reconcile with our desire for retribution. This is where we need to show some maturity. Are we adult enough to make the obvious decision?

We do not get stuck because we can’t forgive; we get stuck because we won’t.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

King James Quoting King David

King James quotes King David
If, by morning, I leave any that pisses against the wall”
I was taught as a child that piss was a vulgar word,
not to be used by persons of good breeding
or polite nature. So you can imagine my surprise
to discover these words in my young teenage years.
A king using such language? If it is permissible for a king
to talk like this, why not a pleb?
Still, I have never felt free to use this word.

I suppose parental admonition is stronger than royal decree.

MDC
March 2018

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Driving to Stanthorpe


We set off on the journey, suitably groomed,
clothed, and suitcased for a week at Grandma’s.
Days filled with fresh air, tea and shortbread loomed.
We breathed a mixture of anticipation and resignation.


The potholes in the road were filled with water
that captured fragments of the overhead sky
in portions larger than if they were filled with mortar;
Bringing the sky down so it was over us and under us


Feeling eerie, we drove between two skies expecting the universe
to fissure any minute from our unnatural action,
But the skies remained calm, clouds interspersed,
puffed and pompous like French pastries.


Empyrean dainties plump with heavenly manna,
watery intent dripping from their brows.
The universe split, dumping again its wet hosanna
with distemper and petulance upon us.


Arriving at the matriarchal residence
as we dismounted from our muddied sedan
the cerulean skies belied the sullied evidence;
We looked like travelers venturing from a previous epoch.


MDC

March 2018

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Ode to Banjo


I’ve always wanted to write poetry just like ‘Banjo’ Paterson,
But I’ve neither had the intelligence or the wit.
Words flow from my mouth more easily than my pen,
And I’m often taken by many for a twit.

Banjo wrote of sheep and stockmen, and Clancy of the Overflow;
And characters you found along the track.
He made the past romantic, with somewhat of a lure
And I’ve often wished that I could travel back.

He had a sense of perception not common in our time
Though it was more usual in his day.
He could make you cry with a verse but when you turned the page
His prose would have you laughing all the way.

I could never hope for the skill or even for the wit
To write my verse with Banjo’s kind of flair
For history was his canvas; for colours he used words
And his “paintings” shine with a stately kind of air.

MDC
April ’81

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Ball Tampering


A decision made in an unguarded moment
Lightly made as a result of faulty thinking, not realizing
the corrupted logic lying within
And like the decision, the execution of the dastardly deed was
haphazard and poorly discharged
Opening the way for inevitable discovery, making
the obviousness of the shame clear in an instant.
If only that clarity had exploded upon you before the event you would have
realized how puerile and distasteful it would seem to all
and now you wonder how you missed the undisguised rancor
that your behaviour would inescapably make.
Yes, so preventable, but your true motives and intentions
are now broadcast and the world sees that it was not
your decision that was unguarded but your true heart,
and now you are ashamed.

MDC
28/03/2018


Sunday, 25 March 2018

Wild Wire


The wild confusion of your hair causes you consternation
Like wiry twists of fencing wire your frustration
sticks out; there is no hiding it.
And though you hate the curled morass
that does not conform to your middle class
thinking; there is no abiding it.
So you tie it back tight against your neck
Your earrings bright where they bedeck
Your creamy lobes; preferring to tame it.
Your desire for linear strands frustrated
Nonetheless leaves your wishing unabated

I ask what would help your follicle control
You say to reclaim it.





MDC

March 2018

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Driving to Stanthorpe



We set off on the journey, suitably groomed,
clothed, and suitcased for a week at Grandma’s.
Days filled with fresh air, tea and shortbread loomed.
We breathed a mixture of anticipation and resignation.

The potholes in the road were filled with water
That captured fragments of the overhead sky
In portions larger than if they were filled with mortar;
Bringing the sky down so it was over us and under us

Feeling eerie, we drove between two skies expecting the universe
To fissure any minute from our unnatural action,
But the skies remained calm, clouds interspersed,
Puffed and pompous like French pastries.

Empyrean dainties plump with heavenly manna,
Watery intent dripping from their brows.
The universe split, dumping again its wet hosanna
With distemper and petulance upon us.

Arriving at the matriarchal residence
As we dismounted from our muddied sedan
The cerulean skies belied the sullied evidence;
We looked like travelers venturing from a previous epoch.



MDC

March 2018