Stand up and be counted

May 23, 2024

The week I wrote this was an emotional and thoughtful week, beginning with a really long and deep call with an old friend. She was deeply involved in a relatively short but important chapter of my life, one during which everything that happened was both clear and not clear, all at once. After we spoke, I spun out for days thinking about how people stand up and represent– or don’t— in our lives.

“He died loving you.”

She’d asked him at the time, way back when, why he didn’t simply stand up and make it right, and his response was “It’s too late.”

Itwas unlikely I’d agree, anyway, because rectifying the damage done to him would’ve taken work he wouldn’t do. Oh, there are those people in every family, you know the type, the ones who aren’t going to take that hard look at themselves in therapy or even the mirror. You’ve probably got them in your own family. Well, that was him, too.

So yes, what he told her was correct: it was too late. But it had been too late from the start.

I always wonder, though, is it ever “never too late?”

Is what we are at heart truly changeable? I’d like to think it is, but sometimes, I wonder.

Maybe the best we can do is be conscious of when we fall short and try to do better. It takes a forgiving heart to deal with a situation like this one.

For a long time, that forgiving heart described me, and then it got too dangerous.

“You were the love of his life.”

But he couldn’t shake the feeling he was out of his depth, out of his league. But. He wasn’t. Sure, there were differences. But he wasn’t ever going to get past them. Couldn’t see how. Some would say unable to do it.  I’m not sure I buy that. I think anything’s possible.

“You think it’s possible to do anything using simple force of will,” another lover told me once. Almost accusingly.  Well, yeah, I do. I’ve lived a whole life that way.

He couldn’t stand up, either.

It’s hard to respect it when someone gives up so easily, isn’t it?

Hard for me, anyway.

“For us it was always a timing issue,” yet another lover claimed. Well, sure, he was right. But time is a long time. So to speak. Timing is not an issue for ever. It just means someone has to stand up.

And then someone did stand up.

When M reappeared in my life after 26 years, it took an unbelievable amount of courage. He knew I was otherwise engaged. But he didn’t say “it’s too late” or “I can’t. He stood up.

He knew it was probably a long shot.

What he didn’t know is that I’d come to see the folly of men who never stood up.

And also, the value of standing up, myself. I try to, anyway.

Because for me?  That’s the measure of a life.

4 comments on “Stand up and be counted
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    I know several people who won’t change, even though they drastically should. Maybe they can’t. Sounds like you had to go through a few guys who weren’t right to find the one that was. And you stood strong.

  2. Alana says:

    Some people can change. Some never do. Is it a conscious choice or beyond those, for those who don’t change? I think it’s a combination of both. We can be so blind to our own shortcomings. Or, like a person in the news right now, some who never change may think they are perfect and it’s always the other person’s fault.

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