Now, it’s not a real manly thing to say ya’ cry. But, I’ve been known to do that on rare occasion. Someone quite randomly found a way to make me cry today.
A little setup – it was a rough day to start with. My girlfriend broke things off with me – sucks too, this was someone I thought I was all locked in with. I wear… er, wore… a promise ring she gave me and I had finally gotten to the point that I had decided to take the next step soon – buy a ring of my own to present to her. But, well, long story short, that’s all been called off. So, you know, that did leave me a little edgy.
Even before it was official, two of my friends had done the thing friends do: we talked. I spent, oh, three hours chatting with Devvi, for instance, part of the time talking about what was going on between the (at the time, still) girlfriend and I (well, and it’s Devvi and I chatting, so there was a LOT of random tangents thrown in there too 😉 And, even though it was something like 11 PM when I changed my relationship status to single, I started getting Twitter DM’s, txts, and Facebook messages from people doing things like checking up on me to just saying “I’m sorry to hear that.” (Oddly, no actual comments on Facebook to the relationship change item it’s self.)
That’s what friends do – when they see a friend in pain, they tend to reach out and help. Well, at least some do – there’s always a percentage of friends who remain mum, for various reasons.
Then there’s the strangers – the folks you have on Facebook that are passing acquaintances, or folks you really don’t know at all. You also get feedback from people like that from time to time – and, quite honestly, it’s not that deep and meaningful. Friends know what to say – a stranger, well, about the best they can say is “Damn, I’m sorry to hear that!”, then you exchange socially required pleasantries, and you move on. It’s not that they don’t mean it – they do. It’s just that without all those queues that people get from long term friendships, it’s just not that easy to have a meaningful conversation. But ya’ get the feeling of support from it.
But… someone managed to catch me completely off guard. I got an FB message while I was chatting with a buddy on FB, and I immediately admitted to him “A stranger just made me cry.”
I won’t post the FB message on here, for various reasons (including that feeling about being a bit creepy by posting a private conversation – though there have been times that hasn’t stopped me.) Messages of support usually range from “Forget that girl – you’re better than that” to “Don’t worry, she’ll get things figured out, you’re a great guy.” The really important conversations happen with close friends, and with God. I already had my conversation with God out in the country – and no, I’m not sharing that one either. Suffice it to say, I told Him about the day, and my problems, and what it was that I wanted to happen – but also what I hoped would happen for her (I’m not so egotistical to believe that my prayers should only be for me – happiness is something everyone deserves, and something I commonly ask God on behalf of others.)
Now, my relationship with God something I’ve come to rely on more and more with good results. If I ask for something, I’ll get an answer pretty soon. Some of it can be point attributed to being “in my head” – I ask for something, and the answer I get could very easily just be something where I attribute structure to randomness. It can be easy to think that (being a Believer and a scientifically minded person can sometimes be challenging.) But somehow I don’t let myself get tied up with that sort of thinking – if suddenly something I consider to be an answer appears, I accept it and move on. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the answer I want either – just because I ask for a thing (not a physical object – a change in a situation, things like that) does not mean I’m going to get the thing. I can take “No” for an answer.
But if I’m feeling a bit negative, I may ignore the answer for a while. That’s when the rule of three seems to kick in (yes, you can see a little of my background in studying magical systems and pagan religions in that one. Though, trinities are also very powerful in the Bible too, for obvious reasons. Let’s not get into my religious studies on the subject of threes right now.)
When one person tells me something, and I don’t want to listen, I ignore it. When two people tell me a thing, and I don’t want to listen, I ignore it. When the third person says it, the world suddenly has my full attention. Well, OK, usually it has to be a very specific thing – not like “hey, it’s gonna rain.” 🙂 But you probably get my meaning here.
And for anyone who thinks I’m rambling off topic – no worries, I’m bringing it back around the point, just stick around a little longer. 😉
Of course, I don’t usually see the rule of three until the third person – then I look back and see the two other people I completely ignored before. This has caused a few grumbles from friends before when I repeat what was told to me by the third person, and the first one says “But – I told you the same thing!” Yeah, I can be a jerk 😉
The other thing about the rule of threes is that if I look at ’em it seems to be “subtle” for the first one, then “less subtle”, then “brick to the head.” At that point, well, I usually know pretty clearly which way I’m supposed to go.
Tonight friend one tells me something, and I let it pass. Friend two… and I let it pass.
Then I get a Facebook message from the random stranger – this was someone I added nearly at random one day because they liked a comment I made on a friends post, and I just randomly add people some days for the heck of it. Yes, I’m THAT weirdo 🙂 The person doesn’t even have a profile picture – just the default white on blue FB “Female” logo.
The first thing that struck me about the message what that the person had invested effort into it – it wasn’t two lines saying “Wow – that really sucks! Hope you’re doing OK!” It was a block of something thought out. The message was one to remind me I had friends out there (well, I know that – I’m sure I’ll get more messages from friends tomorrow ;-), and that it was honest and caring. The person wanted to remind me no just to lean on my friends, but to also avoid “addictive behaviors” – really, not a lot of a problem for me for the most part these days. I don’t drink often, and don’t have much desire to go off on a three day bender. That, depending on circumstances, this could really be a blessing. And the person would pray for me.
The tone, the content… it really moved me. Now, when I say I cried, I don’t mean bursting into tears and bawling – but my eyes welled up, and a few tears trickled down my face. Of course, being a man, I’m gonna have to say now that it’s allergies – I got some pollen in my eyes or something after my drive out in the country.
I see the world often as a place where not often enough do we reach out to no only the people we know well, but often we never really consider those around us we don’t know well, besides the possible “Oh wow, that sucks” sort of comments. In some ways, social networks have helped re-enforce some of our “social nicety” stuff we do when we see someone having problems. Heck, in this world, it seems anymore people can’t even smile to strangers anymore. It’s good to see there’s still people who’ll reach out.
As for the rule of threes… when I looked at the message a second time (sans allergens in eyes), I noticed the rule of threes kick in – they had said the same thing.
Per my usual, I thanked the Lord. Sure, I don’t have a clue what I’m actually going to DO on that particular path, but so far… so far every time I follow one of those paths that God gives me when I ask for a thing has been really successful. I can attribute a lot of where I’m sitting now in life compared to where I was setting, say, a year ago to following when God answers me. Sure, the atheist / agnostic friends I have might turn their noses up at such thinking, but lets face it – if it’s getting results, even those folks can’t argue with that. 🙂
Even with an on-edge mood, God finds ways of reminding me that just because love sucks for me at the moment, there’s always hope of whatever comes next. I spent a while talking with a female friend who just announced her engagement, and how transformative that is going to be on her life (more than just the usual “I’m in love” bit too – I mean downright fundamental change through her entire life!) Ya know, no matter how much grumbling or doubt you’ve got, how can you not be happy about something like that, and have it lift your spirits? And I’m sure I’ll feel the same way being at the wedding going on this weekend.
Completely unrelated final bit: For some reason, that made me dwell back on my own life for a moment again, thinking about the things I wish I could change about my life – I was looking at my pack of cigarettes setting on the desk, and for some reason a random mid-term memory fired off: Me standing in front of the mirror on Sunday, looking at my hair in the mirror, and finally sayings “Oh heck with it – let’s find out!” and taking the clippers and shaving myself bald right then and there. I sort of grinned – I’ve tried quitting before, and I always come back to it. I wondered for a moment if I could ever get that to stick – quit permanently. I laughed out loud, and I’m sure if anyone would have been in the room with me, they would have thought I lost my marbles when said “Oh heck with it – let’s find out!” and tossed the pack. 😉