Sunday, February 04, 2007


Ever find yourself busy and for no reason suddenly look up to an awe inspiring sight? I just did and I keep doing it all the time.

I was reading my email and finding yet one more thing I'm supposed to do as editor of the ham club newsletter. These things are listed in the bylaws, like being thrown off the board for missing two meetings in a row or publishing the club membership roster twice a year, which suddenly became (from another board member) periodically. The bylaws aren't listed on the web site and I have yet to see a copy despite being on the board and newsletter editor for a year. Sometimes all this secondhand news and information after the fact is like being betrayed over and over. I keep feeling like volunteering to help out wasn't such a good idea after all. Only one or two members helped me out at all and I'm still learning things I should have been told in the beginning. I used to wonder why no one wanted to step up to the plate and take over as editor when the past editor had begged for years to be relieved. I don't wonder any more. Betrayal seems to be a way of life with these people, and I don't just mean the feuds with other groups that still bring tears to certain members' eyes.

Betrayal is a theme lately, but not so much for me. I have suffered my betrayals over the years and thought I'd pretty much put them behind me until someone who wanted to get close to me told me I was as prickly as a porcupine. I thought I was funny, a little sardonic and still very open, but he didn't see it that way. And he wasn't alone. Some underlying sense of self preservation had kicked in to make me wary of strangers bearing gifts proclaiming they had only my best interests at heart. How could they know what my best interests were when they didn't even know me?

It looked like all the betrayals over the years by friends and lovers and even family had made me very cautious and unwilling to trust people who really did want to help and be friends. I could no longer tell the difference even though I maintained a pleasant demeanor while I kept my emotions behind a not so invisible wall. What I thought of as caution looked more like a barbed wire fence hooked up to a generator that would have fried a rhino had it gotten too close. I could no longer tell friend from foe and that fact became very apparent when a new friend--someone I finally let get inside the fence and wall--asked me why someone had been my friend in the first place. "Doesn't sound like they were much of a friend. Why were you friends?" he asked. I didn't have a good answer. I tend to be blind to the faults and outright nastiness from people I care about until it's too late and I am asking myself why I didn't see it all sooner.

One very dear friend has been wrestling with betrayal for a long time and is unable to allow himself to be happy. He knows what would make him happy but inside his wall and behind his silence where he wrestles with the demons of his past and his present he has become unable to know friend from foe. He struggles with honor and dreams of happiness, but he's afraid to reach out and take hold of it because betrayal is always close to him like an evil imp whispering in his ear and warning him off. I've heard that imp, as the comments about porcupine behavior will tell. I am no stranger to the dark whispers that kept me from reaching out to people who offered an open hand with no other reason than that they cared.

It took me a while to see friend from foe and I'm better for their patience and generosity because they have all made this porcupine a whole lot less isolated. I still have my prickly moments and I'm a little wary of people who seem too good to be true. It's like looking up and seeing something awe inspiring when I've been focused on mundane tasks and more bad news. Tonight I saw the sky over the deep purple of the mountains outside the windows full of fiery color and blazing light after a gray and featureless day.

The colors have faded into charcoal hazy clouds in a dusky sky behind the black tangled silhouettes of the trees. A little patience and Venus will rise and wink through the tangled skeletal limbs with her bright and cheery face.

Betrayal is something we all have to live with as long as we are involved in the human race and not every open hand is ready to cause pain. Sometimes an open hand is attached to a patient and loving person offering nothing more than hope and friendship willing to wait until we turn off the generator and open a way through the fence and the wall.

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