Reading here may have given outsiders a glimpse into the turmoil and devastation that has befallen us, but let me assure you that what you can see is the tip of a very large iceberg -- there is so much more that we have not shared, and I hope will not share.
We are deeply immersed in chaos and trauma. There is pain and anger and bewilderment -- for us all. And the truth is that we are in conflict, with one another. Things are not easy or settled or comfortable or happy in our world.
Those of you who read here are faced with choices when trying to decide how, or if, to respond to what we've shared here. I understand that it has been terribly difficult to read the tale of these last days, and I understand that there is some "natural" impulse to make judgements and choose sides.
Please do not do that.
We are at the very beginning of a very long, and probably very difficult road that may, someday, bring us to some kind of healing and peace with one another. Before we can get to that distant future, we have a lot of work to do...
--We have to define all the components, and variables, and differing perceptions of our conflict with one another.
Even as we passed through the events of the last two months, we each formed our own reality -- and our realities do not match. We disagree with one another about some very basic elements of the stories we are telling. As long as our stories don't match; as long as we are at odds with one another at this most basic level, we are each left feeling unheard and misunderstood and devalued. That hurts. We are working at it, but we are not there. Not yet.
Hatred hurts. Emotionally and physically. We are all tangled up in that and it is eating away at the very foundations of our lives together. We know it and it scares us, and we can't seem to entirely let it go. Yet. I believe that we'll outlive the current feelings of rage and hatred and betrayal. But that is going to take some time.
--We have to forgive one another, and then forgive again, and then again. And we need to be willing for that forgiving to not change anything much in the short run.
We are, each of us, "up against" our own human sense of hurt and betrayal, and while we want to not cause further hurt, we are in enough pain that it is very hard not to lash out; not to pour out anger and frustration onto one another. Except for this blog, we really have no other, "safe" outlets for all of these feelings. We are pretty much "all in all" for one another. Right now, in the midst of this mess, being "all in all" makes us simultaneously supporters and enemies. Maybe, in time, the repeated act of forgiving will bring us some peace. In time.
--We each need to apologize -- for our part in all of the awfulness that has happened; for choices made and actions taken; for the consequences, however unintended of our actions; for inflicting pain piled on top of pain; for blaming; for not hearing; for discounting and demeaning where we should have loved.
To apologize is seemingly simple, but for us it is complicated. We each need to apologize, and we eachneed to hear the apology -- and we need, more than that, to repair the damage done. An apology is a start, but not the end of it. Not by a very long way. It is hard to offer the apology, and know that it is such a small bit of the work that needs to be done to make this all right.
--We're struggling to learn to empathize with one another. Clearly, healing isn't going to begin until we can feel that we've been listened to and heard. We need to validate the honest feelings that we are each experiencing. That is damnably hard when each emotion in the other brings up strong emotions in us.
We are trying to listen. Carefully. Trying to really hear the words, but the deeper emotions too. And we are feeling our way along. It is scary and it feels really bad. Some of what we have to say to each other; some of what we have to hear from each other feels mean and nasty. Knowing that the person you love thinks badly of you, discounts your opinions, and suspects your motives is just awful. And that is exactly where we are -- trying to listen with hearts and minds.
What is becoming clear is that, much as we love one another, we don't see eye to eye on some things -- and that may never change. We are going to have to find a way to accommodate that as we move forward. If we can.
... And that is why I am, tonight asking readers here to stop judging; stop assigning blame; stop thinking in terms of good and bad, or right and wrong. Do not assume that there are "innocent" victims here. There is not a single one of us who is innocent. Do not assume that there is a need to assign blame. There is plenty of blame to go around. Do not assume that some of us need your support while others deserve your scorn and censure. Please... be careful, and if you can, be tender with us all.
Tom is hurt.
T is hurt.
I am hurt.
We are trying to survive and we hope to someday heal.
If you can offer words of encouragement and friendship, that may help.
If not, please -- try not to cause more hurt.