Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 477: “That’s Just Life?”

I had a great job, lots of friends and I loved my community.” —Jordan

_64A0372 I’m humbled. Grasping for words to express. Looking at my life of ups and downs. Relationships flourished and relationships failed. Yes, as have we all, my life has been filled with ups and downs. Heroic moments as well as glances of shame; you know, that human condition that we all refer to as life. Even passé at times as we look at each other trials with an optimistic, and sometimes, sadly dismissive, “That’s just life.”

Humbled I say?

Why exactly?

How do I put this after spending years throwing many of my deepest feelings to the blogosphere? Feelings that at times are an outward expression of my own need for narrative healing. Feelings that are endlessly driven by an external miracle as a see first hand how the words of others are spreading like a therapeutic wildfire through the wisdom shared by so many a 365 friend. Feelings that stand as a testament to the power that shines forth as we grow in our awareness of each other; and, feelings that over the course of Operation-365 have grown us forward as we get stronger as a culture. A people willing to united our eyes towards one another.

That’s just life. A phrase that we throw left and right as part of our casual vernacular. “You’ll live. Just get over it. It could be worse–” the list of offshoot descriptions of the just life clause morphs on a daily basis: In the confines of our private and personal space, through theatre and via the media and out of the pulpits of anyone who wishes to voice their version of this universal council: “That’s just life.”

I bow my head, myself being on the forefront of talking of life change. Dropped to my very knees in introducing today’s stranger, now friend; no, I mean champion with the credits to look life directly in the face in exploding any notion of falling to the darker side of human nature. For in her is a wealth of history that screams to the world! We as individuals matter! That no one has right to unjustly subject life upon another human; and as tall as the vastness of Everest, a person who has proven that no matter how dismal life can become, there is hope. It is to everyone that her testimony is valid, and it is to me that my doorstep in listening to her will ever be open.

“He tried to take away all my strength,” Jordan shares with me, and as she does there is no cry of vindication. No request for patronization or ask for sympathy. Nor is she bitter or self-absorbed in requesting audience in the blame game, or does she plea for punishment of the abuser.

“I stayed because I tried to keep the family together. But as time went on…” (Jordan shared a lot with me, and it got really bad) “…I realized that I did not want my daughter to see our relationship as a role model. That if she did, she would probably find the same for herself. I had to get out for myself, but most importantly, for her.” Jordan explains.

“I was the bread-winner and supported the family. Little signs would come alone, but I did not want to see the truth. I just prayed it would get better.”

It never did and after time Jordan became strong and determined to do what she had to do. In her words, “He could tell I was not being affected by him. He would do things like come to my job and make a big scene. Then it got devastating.”

Then it got devastating? I’m struck by a hidden and heavy desire to strike the very offender that I have no history of. The very acts of this nameless man burns painfully into my heart as if witnessing the very moments of his offenses. But as member of gender X, and in respect to the very core of Operation-365’s mission to look beyond the face of any perpetrator (mixed with my own self-judgments and imperfections), I bite my lip and temper my mind.

I look at Jordan. Her life now in order, and as seeing her as a loving single mother, I stand in awe.

_64A0381She explains the final straw. “One day we went to see the passion of the Christ. I sat and got sucked in. I felt so much emotion. My husband said that was stupid or something ridiculous. I realized then that there was no hope for him.

“The next day when I was in the laundry room, one of my husband’s friends pulled me aside. He told me that my husband had problems and that he would never be the person I needed him to be. He said he felt like he needed to tell me this because he knew I would not see it. He saw that I was dedicated. He was an angel.”

“I’m a little glassy-eyed in writing this account. Asking myself if I would have the same courage as Jordan’s angel friend. I hope that I would. Wait, pretty sure that I would. Yet in this world of “that’s just life,” comes its devastating companion “lets not interfere in other people’s business.”

Sure, no one likes a busy bee. You know that person who has an opinion on everything and everyone. I get it! We all have the freedom a privilege to our own privacy, and the right to determine our own existence. That is the wonderment of this condition we call living. Yet there is a point worthy enough for us all to ponder in examining our own relationships. A point we can use to explore our personal beliefs and values in how we treat and respect our co-humans. A point that makes one thing certainly clear: Not one of us has the right to take away someone else’s self worth.

Sure, not a single one of us is perfect. I know there are so many times that I’ve hurt the feeling of my lovely wife, a friend, colleague or family member. My wife will admit the same towards me. That is the blessing that comes from figuring out how to share a life. Some days are good. Others are miserable. But in none do we strip each other of our dignity to live as we wish to. I could go on and on. This article is charging me, and I must thank Jordan’s courage for sharing her story–a story that has lit my editorial fire.

“Life is walk in the park compared to what it was…” Jordan reveals, “’… the unknown is not really that bad. Leaving him is what was hard. Sometimes letting go of what you feel is your lifeline is what lets you fly. A lot of people are stuck and can’t see a way out, or even wanting to. They say to themselves, ‘I’m not going to give up.’ But they have to realize that when they do, they are not really giving up. They are just cutting their losses.’”

“If you don’t go, you’ll never know,” Jordan expands. “Basically, if you feel something inside that’s driving you to go across the world or across the street. No matter what… do it.

“You’ve got to do it. For some reason your intuition is guiding you there, and it’s part of what you’re here for. It’s going to lead to something terrible or wonderful, but it doesn’t matter, you have to do it. Just go.

“Forget the fear, or cry through it. No matter what you have to do to get through it. There are times when you are not sure, and you have to just get sick enough of being unsure; or sick enough of the situation that you are in. Or sometimes you just have a moment of clarity.

“If you are lucky and you get some time to yourself, silence helps a lot, and not filling your calendar with things that are not really needed. Not thinking about material things. Anything you can do to clear your head. A sport, whatever; I think that helps you with your intuition.

“I think everybody has that place. But sometimes we get a little lost, or off track. You can always find yourself. You just have to want to. The most important thing is to trust your intuition and go with it.

“If it is noisy, you have to go through what you have to go through to learn. You have to make peace with yourself. That’s pretty important.

“There is one truth. It is at the bottom of everything, and deep down, everyone really knows it. To hear it out loud it just clicks and makes things feel right.”

I ask Jordan if she is sure she wants me to publish her history to the world. With the greatest of peace she says. “Of course, I trust you, and I hope that by sharing what I can that hopefully I can help someone else who this is happening to.”

Jordan, I hope I have done you proud, and I pray that you have helped someone who needs to hear your voice.

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