Pic.: Chetna Shetty
Just a while ago, a dear friend of mine called me up. She wanted me to call up one of our common friends to pep her up a bit…”Sir, *Nisha is, once again, going through a low phase… Can you call her up and cheer her up a bit.”
I told my friend that the best thing we could do to Nisha, at that moment, was to leave her alone… “She will get over her low phase… She has done it before, and, she will do it now, too.”
“But sir, what if she doesn’t get over it this time?” my friend asked me.
“Well, ‘What if’ is coming from our own fears… We have to first get over our own anxiety, and over-concern for others,” I told my friend, “Caring for our dear ones is one thing… trying to play a ‘rescuer’ is a different thing altogether… Nobody likes us to be their rescuers… They want us to be by their side, walk quietly with them along the dark tunnel… Too much of talking and pepping only backfires… They resist it… even become angry with us. Trust me, Nisha has enough strength within her to bounce back… She needs to gather enough wisdom to take responsibility for her own well-being.”
Did my friend get convinced with my theory?
Was I being insensitive… detached to the plight of one of my dear friends?
Some days ago, a good friend of mine was trying to tell me as to how important it was for me to care for myself and my family. My wife was there around. Let me tell you, with all my honesty, I found resisting every word my friend uttered beyond his first sentence. “Gerry, you should take good care of yourself,” well, that was true; no two things about it… He was my well-wisher, he cared for me… and, hence, with great humility, I should accept what he said. “Gerry, you should take good care of your family,” yes, even that was cent percent true… He cared for my family, too… I would be too arrogant if I did not accept his advice with grace…
Yet, what contaminated the entire caring process was the ‘broken record’ that he played after his maiden lines of advice… He was telling me again and again and again the same thing, in hundred different ways, that I should take good care of myself and my family…
I was getting irritated… and, I gently and firmly cut him short…
My life is my business. My well-being is my responsibility… If my loved ones stand on my wayside and cheer me along, I will feel motivated to beat my blues… If they feel for me, bleed for me, I will feel loved, humbled, even blessed… Their mere presence is, often, enough to keep me going… But, the moment they step inside my ‘track’ and try to rescue me from my burden… yes, very, very, very frankly… that’s a disturbing thought for me…. I do not want people to rescue me, bail me out of my problems. I want them to be around me, and heal me and empower me through their presence and love…
Does it work?
Yes sir, it does… It does.
Here is Kahlil Gibrans’s timeless advice from ‘The Prophet’:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”
Hope, I have rested my case…