Two Kinds of Fighting

A question was posed to me recently, to be answered in writing: what do you think is worth fighting for?

Depending on what you mean by fighting, I can think of a lot of things.

Initially I kept thinking that I would write passionately about my thoughts on the healthcare debate and potential government shutdown, because I wholeheartedly believe that it is worth fighting for-as do a lot of other people, apparently. I believe in it so much that I applied, and was accepted, to serve on a committee for Cover Oregon, which is the health insurance exchange for our state, and am thrilled to get to be a part of that. I believe it in so much that I worked diligently with our grant writer at work to see if we could secure a grant that would enable us to not only assist with insurance enrollment for those we already serve who are not insured but also do extensive outreach to other hard to reach populations. I believe in it so much that I dreamed about it, composing emails in my sleep regarding things we needed to do. I believe it in so much that when we didn’t get the grant, I immediately started on our back up non-grant plan, because there is still so much work to be done, so many people to help. This fight is worth waging. It is vital. And I thought for a while that I would spend some time writing deeply on those views about why it is so important.

But I’m not going to. Because there’s fighting of another kind that is also taking up a lot of space in my heart these days.

A bit over a year ago, a long time friend took something I’d said, in which I meant no slight to him at all, as something harsh and offensive and it exploded into an hours-long argument/discussion in which we realized that we had a million problems between us that apparently had been lying just below the surface for years. Having felt very strongly about our friendship, and feeling more caught off guard than I thought possible when I learned what he thought of me, I was stunned, hurt, heartbroken and confused. I assumed, after those long hours, that we resolved our fight and had started the healing process, but I later realized he had given up on us me. I tried, in the only ways I knew how, to fight for us. But he wanted no part of it. So eventually I let go. I think now that, despite all we had been through, all that we had helped each other deal with over an almost 7 year friendship, maybe the truth is that we never really knew each other at all.

Friendship is, almost always, worth fighting for. Relationships are the most important thing in my life. So I will remain in the fight for as long as I can. But when it is not returned, when I am the only one putting in effort, the only one who seems to be all that concerned, then I will stop. I will back away. But it takes a lot to get me to that point. A whole lot.

I’ve spent a significant portion of the last year fighting for a different friendship with someone who has played a large role in my life for quite some time. Because I thought it was worth it. Because losing one friend over misunderstandings was enough. Because the people I love, the people I invest in, the people I care about, mean so much to me. And when they hurt, I hurt. When they find themselves in the midst of a CRAZY situation, I will be there to help them try to sort through it. When I get brought into the middle of it through no fault of my own, I will work through that and deal with the madness and forgive and still be there. When it just keeps getting worse and worse and worse, I will still be there. But then sometimes the crazy wins and I’m the one left with a huge hole where there used to be a great friendship. It was worth it in the beginning. It was worth it in the middle. But I can’t fight for this one any more, because there’s no one even fighting with me.

What I find myself fighting for right now-today even-is the ability to not let these things make me bitter. To not let the hurt I am still experiencing change the core of who I am. To still want to love deeply and be there for the people I care about. Because as much as it stings when my loyalty is abused, I don’t want to become someone who isn’t there for anyone else simply because it hurt too much the last time. I don’t want that to be me.

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