For my school exams in my final year, I had to write an essay on the novel Silas Marner, titled ‘No man is an island’; discuss…
I had read the book inside and out, upside and down and felt at the mere age of 18 I knew everything; that I was a champion of the world, that at 18, I knew all there was to know and pretty much acted that way. Gosh, when I look back now, I realize how absurd that confidence was, given how little I knew of life and the curveballs it can throw at you.
That essay however has stuck with me during good and bad times, because what I did know even then (though only in some small way) is that none of us are alone; no matter how much we may think otherwise.
Our lives impact the people around us in ways we cannot comprehend when we are that young and the older we get, the more of an impact our presence or absence can have on those around us. (Philosophical lesson over!)
I have a friend, (I love her to bits) who has seen me through my fair share of dark days and endless weeks, when I have felt nothing but emptiness. She has given to me without a thought of receiving anything back. Through some of her darkest days though, I have been there to wipe away her tears, to hold her and assure her everything would be okay, even though I hadn’t a clue if that was actually the truth.
(And there’s always a ‘but’ isn’t there: otherwise life would just be boring!!)
At this point in her life she is happy. However, some time back when times weren’t as good, she underwent cognitive therapy and thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread. It doesn’t work for me! But she espouses the virtue of this each time I mention a dark day or moment, or fleeting thought. I have talked to her about things I’ve not spoken to most other people about; but when I ask for advice, what has happened before all gets spewed back at me as if it was some kind of viscous vomit. Her intention is not to hurt, and I know that, but having a constant reminder of how things ‘were’ instead of how things ‘now are’ is not very soothing for my spirit.
The problem, the big ‘But’ in the room is I have told her this, and yet…. And yet…. my past experiences continue to become a ‘present day’ incident in her mind, irrespective of the now! She wants to be my balm. So what happens when you don’t need consolation and yet it is thrust upon you? This is my dilemma. For the most part I hold my own, for the most part I love her company, for the most part I can tell her most things with the complete confidence it goes no further.
I also don’t want to be reminded of those times when life wasn’t good.
Imagine a champion jockey constantly being reminded of the races he lost, or a fighter being reminded of the times he was knocked out, irrespective of the times they have won –or their present circumstances? No man is an island! Where would we be without friends? But sometimes, I want to be on an island, or at least have my present cheerfulness celebrated as much as my past miseries.