The third day of the year. And the third post of the year.
The topic for today is a bit touchy, something I feel so strongly about.
It is easier to be generous with wishes that cannot come true.
Those were the words I read in a book and they have stuck with me since the moment I first read and absorbed the meaning. How often have we all wished for something from someone, only to have them say ‘Of course yes, if I could have, I really would have – but tough luck, the <said thing> is no longer in either of our hands!’
It isn’t mere escapism, this sentence. Some people do generously grant such wishes, maybe lulled into the belief that there was no possible way that it could turn out to be true, no possible way for it to happen. Like wishing people back from the dead, like wishing one’s youth returned, like wishing the words once spoken could be taken back – the wish list that cannot come true is endless. Some might feel it was futile to make such wishes, but the human nature is to lust after the things that are considered unattainable, the things that are tantalizingly close yet cleverly out of reach.
A case in point was a friend who had married a widower. The husband was a devoted man, outwardly completing all his duties to the T. The wife had no real complaints with him and was effusive in her praise about her husband and even his first wife. There was a thing or two to be learned from this model couple – him with his ability to love despite the loss, and her with her ability to praise the woman her husband had once loved madly, deeply.
It was all fine with me until I heard him remark casually, one day, referring to his now-deceased first wife, ‘I am thankful for you (my friend) and the way you have made my life happy again. But I still wish she (the first wife) were here. We were so perfect together until fate played its cruel game on us.’
If I was surprised by this wistful statement declared so publicly, her response startled me even more.
‘I know I am lucky to have you in my life, but the pain you are feeling makes me wish she were alive, too.’
*Not verbatim. This was the essence of the conversation that stemmed out of something deeper. This part is shared here because it is relevant.
Feeling like I was in some surreal drama, my face probably resembling that of a forgetful goldfish, I just had to corner my friend and ask her if her days were spent consoling the bereaved man instead of feeling loved and cared for like a wife normally should. Her response answered one of my life’s most important questions.
‘Of course, I feel loved. And of course, I mean what I said. It really does pain me to see the pain he carefully tucks away in a corner of his heart and tries not to show to me. And in my defense, I would not be reacting the same if he were divorced instead of widowed, let’s be honest about that. It is easier to wish he had her now because she is not going to come back, ever.’
Do I call that a selfish statement or a practical one? Is it for me to judge, though?
Is what she said right? Or was she just being the ‘good’ wife here?
And most importantly. Does it matter?
It really does not, in the long run. Human relationships are so fickle, so temporary and based on all the flimsy things that people hold close to their hearts, and it was easier to judge someone for being opportunistic and pragmatic until the realization came that it was not in our place to judge anyone’s thoughts, words or actions.
I’m not sure what I made of that wordy exchange, but I sure took back one lesson from that encounter. It really is easier to be generous with wishes that have no chance of becoming reality, and people do not often have hidden intentions in wishing the very things that would be detrimental to them.
And therein began a topic I would reflect a lot upon.