“You Weren’t There”

Out of all of the strange dynamics I’ve observed since the verdict in the case against George Zimmerman, the one that won’t leave me alone is the chant of, “You weren’t there. You don’t know what really happened.”

Really?

Because I am rarely anywhere where major bad mojo goes down (mercifully), and yet I am not usually asked to keep my thoughts to myself.

I wasn’t in New York on 9/11.

I wasn’t with Caylee Anthony when she died.

I wasn’t in Tiananmen Square with the students.

You get my drift.

It is very clear to me that Florida law made it legal to acquit Zimmerman of any wrong doing in the death of Trayvon Martin.  I know enough about the difference between “legal” and “ethical” or even “intelligent” to not knock on that door.

I accept this verdict, but what I cannot accept is the pressure to not state the obvious, what is admitted by the defendant and his army of lawyers: A man took a loaded weapon after an unarmed teenager and shot him to death. He chose to, against the advice of the very resource he trusted enough to call, pursue another person while dropping profanity and suggesting this suspicious person would not “get away” on his watch.

It’s really okay to tell the Emperor he isn’t wearing any clothes. It’s his kingdom, and it is perfectly legal for him to walk around naked.

What is not okay is to expect me not to mention it.

Bruiser or Bleeder?

Early in our relationship, my husband and I had a big fight.

During the resolution period he told me, “Don’t worry too much. I bleed a lot at first, but I heal quick.”

That got me thinking about the metaphor of emotional conflict as receiving physical wounds. I realized that I am not a bleeder, I’m a bruiser.

I can take a lot, but you might not see the swelling purple and yellowish green under the skin that takes a very, very long time to go away. Add this to a conversation I had with my cousin last night where we were joking about middle age and he said very matter of factly, “I notice I just don’t heal anymore.” He meant his twisted ankle, but it pinged in me a deeper concern.

Physically of course the young heal quickly and well because of their biology. But they also often heal quickly and well because they haven’t learned the hard way that some things never change and may not be worth healing for. As cynical as this sounds, I simply am considering this as an unfortunate but apparently very real course of events across the lifespan. At some point, we look at the increasing effort it takes to recover from conflict, and have to decide if we will willingly go back in the ring.

It is romantic and popular to propose that love means going back in the ring no matter what. I don’t know that this concept is in anyone’s best interest. I think each relationship and each situation has to be evaluated for what it is, and each person has to consider the personal cost for continuing to engage people who cause them suffering. I know my limitations, and I am usually a very good judge of character. I can see that someone I love is fundamentally good, but also incapable of change. Juxtapose that with friends who, though I may have struggles with them, I know in my gut that they are walking the same path I am and we will converge at some point. The love (agape love) is there and I can count on them not to bruise me in their own best interest.

Then there are those I love who I can’t really count on.

This is tough stuff, and I know it is hardly unique to me. For anyone out there seeking resolution, I am sending you my very deepest prayer for peace.