Getting Happy... when you wish you were dead

Day 82 – Thursday, 31 Jan

When Matthew Parks and I first met, I made a joke about knowing I’m the center of the universe because I wrote the memo that says so. He quoted that from his notes today, and accused me of not taking any responsibility for what has happened between Maria and me.

The conversation wasn't pleasant. It was also this conversation that motivated me to begin recording our sessions. In fact, because I felt Matthew had grossly misinterpreted my joke, I told him that I would be recording future sessions as a way of having an impartial, objective record of the sessions. I even offered to provide him with copies of the sound file from each session.

Here was I, seeking the help that I had tried to get for three years with Maria and the kids, being told that I'm denying my responsibility. That was hard to take. It wasn't made any better by knowing the courts would give a negative interpretation to my quitting the sessions, that Matthew had tremendous power to complicate my life, or that it came on the heels of a pastor berating me for attending a bible study.

The injustice hurt, and it made me want to fight even harder. We were in a small town where everybody knew Maria, and liked her. She took care of everybody's parents or grandparents because she was the nurse for the cardiologist in town. And let's face it... Maria was an attractive, friendly woman who also happens to have been a widow with three children. I was an outsider, and a hard man with anger issues. It's easy to understand how people were more inclined toward the widow who had lived in town for twenty years.

That doesn't make it hurt less, and it doesn't make them right. It actually makes it more wrong for people, like Matthew, who are supposed to strive to remain objective. We are all inclined to interpret things in the way that best suits us, I know. But one thing I've learned is that we have to be on guard against doing this.

You might think someone doesn't speak to you because they don't like you. The truth might be that they're intimidated by you, are in awe of some ability you have, or have simply been taught that they shouldn't speak unless spoken to. The most important thing we can do in relationships is ask questions, give honest answers, and accept the answers we get.

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