I have 44 years of experience at life.
44 years of getting it wrong and somehow still making it, 44 years of getting it right and still screwing that up, 44 years of asking other people for help, and 44 years of lessons learned.
No, my experiences are not the same as yours, so obviously I can’t 100% understand what you are going through. Hey, but good luck finding someone who has. What I do have (invokes Liam Neeson voice) is a particular understanding that the boat you are in is yours, but the lake you are on… well, that’s something I can grasp. I also have an uncanny way of seeing things for what they are (I have been wrong on occasion), and hearing what you aren’t saying or are trying to hide (it’s not a magic trick or esp, I’m just really good at reading people along with a bunch of other stuff).
Unfortunately, added to all this is my desire to help people through tough times, or to try to walk along the road with them and point out the landmines that I have walked over (ok, so we are out of the boat metaphor and onto dry land). My tactic is not straightforward though. I don’t want to give people the answers, but instead try to lead them to a place where they can figure it out and make the answer their own (it’s the teacher in me, I’m sure). Oh, I’m also a bit cocky, snarky and apparently cynical. An abrasive personality in these kinds of situations, I’m sure.
But, I don’t have time to pussyfoot around stuff. My time is valuable, just as much as the next person, and since my advice doesn’t come with a prescribed per hour premium, I don’t want to dawdle over trivial crap. This has lead many to call my talks 2×4’s. Honestly, I’m ok with that. Most people need 2×4’s in their life from time to time. I do my level best to help someone, but I’m not changing my tactics, I’m not changing my style. I am who I am, so my help comes with that understanding.
See, compassion and mercy are not my strong points. Well, not the way that most would define them. I have a lot of compassion, it is what makes me want to help people. It’s just not that surface stuff that’s all, “Aww, let me give you a hug, isn’t the world wonderful, you’re so special” crap that seems more fluff than anything. And I have a lot of mercy. Lots. I can overlook a lot of offenses (which leads me to be walk on or abused), but again, it’s not this surface style mercy so a lot of people think I am just cold and disconnected.
But I do have a point where I am just done. Sometimes it’s the person’s actions, like when I spend hours with them and they return over and over to the same thing, which makes me feel as if I am wasting my time. Sometimes it’s something they say, more akin to the camel’s back snapping from that last straw, where I have finally just had enough and I am done (insert a dealer wiping and showing his hands as he finishes his shift.. seriously, I do that).
Which ever it is, somewhere in my brain that person gets marked as a swine (not literally, but that would be cool). My compassion just runs out. My mercy hits a wall. I feel bad because I really want to help, but I realize that when Jesus was talking about pearls and swine, sometimes, you just got to let that pig be a pig.
Or… you know… something like that.