I was watching Hoarders the other night. There was a guy who said he was Peter Pan. He wasn't this guy, for those of you that know who that guy is....But he was this guy in Florida that had fought in wars and was even knighted by Prince Charles because of his heroism towards some British soldiers.
He also called himself a modern day Liberace. But basically he had spent all of his savings and all of his retirement on shiny, pretty things. Because he wanted to fill his house with beautiful things. He was in danger of bankruptcy and agreed to allow Hoarders to come in and help him clean out his house and maybe sell some of his things so he could stay financially afloat.
It came to the point in the show when they opened the fridge and realized it was full of spoiled food and other gross things. The Hoarders counselor asked this man to clean it out. She wanted him to see what he had done. She wanted him to fix it so he would know what had occurred in his fridge. I mean, it's just a fridge, probably not a big deal. But he started to refuse. He said,
"It's ugly and I don't look or deal with anything ugly."
She forced his hand, and with quite a bit of attitude he finally cleared out the fridge.
Later in the show she was digging into why he had withdrawn so far into his pretty things. He talked a bit about his family history and then he said:
"I've seen what reality can do, and I don't want any part of it"
I was really struck at how long I lived like that.
I want to be ok, I want you to be ok. I want our relationships to be ok. Because if it's ok, it's ok.
I don't like it when there is tensions, I don't like it when people hurt and I want to fix it. I don't like the ugly emotions, ugly relationships...I don't like ugly things.
For so long I would just withdrawal, bury my head in the sand and stick my fingers in my ears for good measure. Then, when I realized that wouldn't fix anything I went into fixer mode. I jumped into the fray and tried to talk through things, get people to understand each other and find a solution amenable to everyone.
But then they turned on me, because I was butting in where I didn't usually belong.
So here I am. Still not wanting to look at the ugliness, especially not ugliness that I created. I hide relationally partially because I've seen what reality is in some relationships and I don't want any part of it.
Sometimes I can't imagine why on earth I would pursue a relationship when I see so many falling apart, tearing each other down relationships around me.
Sometimes I completely withdrawal from all of my relationships (non-romantic) because it's just to much for me. It's to much reality, to much mucking it out and dredging through the ugly, through the disappointments through the gross. it's just to much and I don't know how to do it.
But I do it anyway. The redeeming parts of reality are there, even when I close my eyes to them in the midst of tantrums. I see it in the people around me that allow me peaks inside the "reality" of their relationships and while there is strife it's refining, it's edifying, it's supportive and encouraging even if it's saying things that the other person doesn't want to know. I see it in the friends that reach across the chasm I'm building between myself and reality and the words that stretch across the weeks of stubborn silence.
Reality is sometimes ugly. But to toss it all out means you have to toss out the beauty, the redemption, the love along with the ugly and so far, I'm just not able to do that. Are you?