I have one of those persons in my life. You know the type. Controlling, dominant, critical, condescending, dismissive and disrespectful. Out-and-out emotionally abusive. It would be one thing if I could just say “good riddens” and give them my backside. But last I checked, they aren’t going away anytime soon. Kinda like dog poop on my shoe … this person lives in the cracks of my sneakers and no matter how much I clean them or how long I hold my nose, the shit just stinks. There just ain’t a work around.

And the worst part is my own powerlessness. I have consciously and intentionally worked hard to insulate myself from their toxic kool-aid. I have a support team, I have solidified my boundaries, I minimize contact as much as possible. Admittedly, these tactics help. But every now and again, when I let my guard down and I think it is safe to get back into the water, the shark rears its ugly head. And once again, I am thrown off my center, drowning in toxic shame, losing sleep and questioning my very being.

Before you go telling me… yes … I have read all the hokey-pokey hoopla. In fact, I even subscribe to it and “like” much of it on Facebook. It all tells me that I am supposed to be grateful. That the good Universe is seeing to it that I have a spiritual experience. That I am being given an opportunity to grow, expand and eat my dose of necessary humble pie. And of course, that there is some greater, higher reason for all this madness – a reason that I don’t understand today but will bear its light someday. Blah, blah, blah. I just want the jerk to die. I am more invested in hiring a hit man at the moment than I am in my own spiritual growth.

And yet, despite my dripping cynicism, life pulled a surprise on me this morning. As I was driving into the parking lot at work, there was my friend, Wayne. I am not sure we are really friends. He is the security guard for some Washington VIP that lives behind my office. For some time now, we have greeted each other every morning and every afternoon. But this morning, he was especially exuberant to see me. It touched me in a way I did not expect. Before he could notice, I pulled into my parking spot and tears flooded my cheeks. The thought that followed my feelings was so simple yet profound — Wayne sees me. He’s not out to destroy me. He’s not trying to one-up me. He wants very little from me other than a gentle smile and a warm hello. I am enough for him and he appreciates that.

Now that is some blah, blah, blah that I can hold onto. No, I can’t stop the turkeys from being turkeys. I can’t keep them from their need to make me the object of their negative and delusional projections.  And I fail every time at controlling my feelings when I am being attacked by one of them. And I am not even “above” my pain enough to find the silver lining – even though I am sure there probably is one somewhere.  

But, I can be open and available when love shows up, when love’s mighty force knocks on my door and avails itself upon me. And it does come. It always comes. It can come in the form of a full moon out my window. Or a phone call from a dear friend. Or eavesdropping on my daughter and her friends as they discuss their future fantasies and plans. Or the warm sun that baked my legs. Or an unexpected laugh with my teenage son. Or a warm chocolate chip cookie from Jenny’s Bakery. Or even the daily welcome from my friend, Wayne.  

Love does come. I just have to have my eyes wide open enough to see it and my heart available enough to receive it.

I admit that at this moment, I am not mature enough to wish well that thorn-in-my-side.  I am not evolved enough to not want life to level the playing field. Maybe someday I will get there but I am certainly not there today. Meanwhile, I am going to stay interested in my own intergrity. I will keep rowing my boat and hitting a good ball on my side of the net.  And I will continue to look for life’s love every place I can find it.  ‘Cause I know it is there.  And sure as hell, I don’t want to miss one drop.