Sometimes, it’s not your river. You realize that after all this time treading water, fighting the current, trying to keep from being swept away, all you ever had to do was step out of it onto the shore.
My friend is in a river of muck. A figurative river. I myself had been in one of those also. But I had the benefit of a wise big sis who told me, “You’re in the middle of a situation not of your choosing. Of consequences that are not yours to bear. All you have to do is step out of it. Just step out of it.”
I was giving my friend the same advice. So easy to say and so very hard to do. Especially since the muck was that of someone she loved dearly. Someone she kept thinking she could change.
Enough with the metaphors. Let’s just speak plainly. We all love too much sometimes. We enable people we love because we somehow think we will be the all too human savior. That they will change because of us. Or see the light because of our example. But the truth is, none of us does either of those things until we’re good and ready. Brother, sister, parent, spouse, child—doesn’t matter. All do things in their own time.
Swimming in someone else’s rushing rapids never works. We either drown with them or we end up battered at the end of a long, wild ride wondering what the hell just happened.
My friend has not yet stepped out. I see her trying. I’m throwing her the life raft and paddle. But the current is strong and keeps sucking her back into itself. So, I can only watch from shore and shout hopelessly useless navigational tips.
Perhaps better if, before we wade into someone else’s current, we realize we have our own. Clear, strong, unwavering, healthy—moving us toward a destination worthy of us. That’s where we belong. I’m hoping my friend finds it again. In the meantime, I’m going to stay right here. Just like someone else did for me.
We all need somebody on shore.