Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Burning Betrayals


Betrayals burn. Those betrayed get hurt, yes, but those who do the betraying possibly sustain
 more. An essence of one's integrity gets lost. It's as though the inability to keep a secret, or to hold 'the other' in sufficient value enough to protect private information they shared with you has worked its way through the core of you, renders you rotten. At least, that's how I feel. And I have betrayed in my time. I've let slip the secrets of yore. After all, the passage of time gives one a sense of ‘it’, the secret, surely 'no longer' mattering. For instance, especially if it happened many years ago, surely it’s alright now to reveal the misdemeanour; yet we can be surprised when there's adversity to long-buried news. Why is it that we instinctually know that some things of our past are best left hidden in their closets? Yet which of us has no closet whatever to be found in the long-ago recesses of our psyche? Which of us has never (ever) told anyone else the secret that someone else shared with us? Especially when that secret has no real relevance or chance of being found out; across time zones; across continents; across cities; across social circles? Yet, we do! We tell, we expose, and we are left littler for it! If you're like me, you burn for it. Your integrity over 'that' matter, like your virginity, can never (ever) be retrieved.

Some betrayals are innocent enough. My most recent one was promising my renters over a pre Christmas drink that I'd not break their verbal contract with me until end of lease, end of September, 2016. Well, by mid January I'd not only forgotten that promise, I'd let them know they needed to vacate by the end of May! When called on it, I was truly astounded! I truly actually-factually had (conveniently?) forgotten, overlooked, neglected, and not checked in with my ‘self’ to see if I'd made a prior commitment. And today, nearly six months later, I still burn, hurt, feel upset, and deeply regret my selfish shallowness of process. Yes, I did need to sell that particular property! Still, was it just symptomatic of the long-line of betrayals that suited me, that rode with me as I wound my way through a past, en route to here? My making amends, offering alternatives, extending apologies all helps ameliorate my short-fallings, yes, but still...

Integrity is not a product; it is a journey. We make hundreds of promises throughout our lives, and some we keep, and some we break. We are fallible. We serve others, or we serve ourselves, and oft times the discernment at which is the better action (to keep things a secret, to uphold a promise, to prolong the entrustment, or not) dogs us. Not all secrets are good. Not all protection of another does oneself good. Ask anyone who suffers child-abuse. Uncles and parents and siblings and family members may be served some protection at the expense of oneself, but should especially not be served at the expense of continuing freedom to perpetrate their awful influence on others! And so, promises and secrets are not always to be honoured. Little in life is truly black or white. Ask any lawyer. Life is full of circumstantial there-unto's.

Thereunto allow me to advance my apology to whomever is reading this, feeling that I've in my turn betrayed something they've held dear. I think of students who clung tenaciously to a separate Faith, (yet I did not belie them). I think of friends who expected more of me. I think of colleagues who wanted more from me in terms of my supporting the status quo. I think of spiritual warriors who may expect a purity of complete and utterly ‘correct’ actions. Yet we all are on a journey. To exist otherwise is to be in stasis. And I personally have “miles to go afore I sleep, and promises yet to keep, though venturing some woods can be lovely, dark and deep".*

Betrayal burns in me. I shall choose yet more carefully my words, my promises, my actions; amend my course of thinking, feeling, and being. But, my friend, Batman, now that you told me who you 'really' are, I promise: I shall not in turn let your true identity slip. In doing so, I know by past experience just how much it can hurt others. (Yet still, history may castigate me for keeping your secret.) Sorry to know. Sorry to say. Sorry to feel. Betrayal burns, indeed.


*the poet: Robert Burns

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