“It seems that all my bridges have been burnt,
But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works.
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart.”
– Mumford & Sons
How do you know when it’s time to let go?
This is a question I struggle with daily, because I am not someone who says goodbye easily. All too often I am the only one left holding on after everyone else has walked away.
“And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” – Kahled Hosseini
If you come to know me well enough, you will find that there’s almost nothing I wouldn’t do for those I am closest to. Need help moving? Lucky for you, I love to pack things. Have no one to take you to the airport at 4am? Sounds like an adventure! It’s 2am and your whole world is falling apart? Don’t worry, I’m there. I’m always there. I am the old-reliable of the group, and more often than not I’m one of the first calls made during an emergency (unless it’s a medical emergency, then I just freak out). On more than one occasion I have found myself baffled by acquaintances, people I’ve barely had serious conversations with, who have turned to me in moments of strife. I have long since wondered what it is about me that compels people, sometimes near strangers, to open up in such an honest and raw way. I have become an unofficial secret keeper, of sorts (it’s amazing, really, what people can tell a stranger, but not each other).
For the most part, I consider this a huge honor, and it’s not one I take lightly. This trust is not only a great privilege, but it’s also a fascinating way to learn more about the world, the people in it, and what makes them all tick.
The problem with being so whole-hearted with everyone is that…not everyone deserves your whole heart.
The other problem is that part of them does.
No one is entirely awful, and if – even just for a second – someone does get close enough that you really let them in, they can turn out to be a total asshole later and you’re still always going to love that one good part of them.
“Don’t burn your bridges behind you” – Proverb
In general, I am of the mind that you should forgive people. So I do (although not always right away). In fact, I don’t just give second chances, I give third chances, and forth chances, and I’m sure even 5ths and 6ths if they’re so required.
Because I love you, and I’m loyal, and I let you in.
(And yet, combined with this fierce sense of loyalty are streaks of stubbornness, pride, a sense of fairness and equality…and a hefty dose of Irish temper.)
“The only bad thing about burning your bridges behind you, is that the world is round.” – Labhesh Patel
Usually, that is exactly what I’m afraid of!
Only sometimes, some bridges do need to be burnt. There are some people who will use every chance you give them, and you can spend your whole life paying the price for it.
I’ve had to cut very few people out of my life completely, but like the straw that broke the camel’s back, it’s usually pretty clear when it’s time to walk away – when it’s the only thing left you can do (see yesterday’s post). The fact that it takes me longer than most people to give up just makes the fire burn that much hotter when it finally happens.
“When one burns one’s bridges, what a very nice fire it makes.” – Dylan Thomas
There is one person in my life right now, however, who’s got me completely torn. The 10+ years we’ve known each other have been rocky – a relationship, a friendship, a…something-in-the-middleship. Our timing has never been right, but our friendship has always been strong. Because our up and downs have taken their toll, there have been several points in time where we’ve stopped talking altogether. Yet even when we’re not speaking, I can still feel the pull of the ties that bind us together. He’s my person.
And right now I’m on a precipice. Perhaps one of the biggest ones I’ve faced. Do I extend the olive branch, or do I light the match – for good this time? Do I jump down the rabbit hole, and see where it leads – do I open this can of worms, to see if that is indeed what it still holds? I want to say yes, but I’m afraid of another round in this battle, not just with him, but with my head and my heart as well.
“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” – David Russell
“I have to ask you a question. It’s a good one so think about it. If two people love each other, but they just can’t seem to get it together, when do you get to that point of enough is enough?”
What Would Your Answer Be?