Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Greatest Rewards

Despite my best efforts to look after my mental illnesses, there are times when they get the better of me. In those moments, I convince myself that I am a leech on society, draining federal reserves that are already empty for an income, and giving nothing back. Oh, it's not the government that I want to help; it's society in general. I want to return to the days when I was physically fit and able to work again. I want to have that touch of pride at bringing home a paycheck and knowing I EARNED it. I want to do more than I am capable of doing.

Before Becky, and even to an extent after her arrival in my life as my beloved, I had good cause to feel unloved. Stu not only rejected me moving to TN over money, but hasn't made any effort whatsoever to contact me. It's over six months since I called and left him a voice mail wishing him a happy New Year.

And my father...? He doesn't call, despite the fact that he SHOULD. I called him last night to remind him that I had surgery coming up tomorrow, and he'd forgotten. That he might have forgotten the date was the reason for my call, but he'd forgotten my need for surgery altogether. On top of that, he'd hurt his back in a fall. Had this just happened, I wouldn't be griping about it. No, he hurt himself TWO WEEKS AGO! Yet I didn't receive a call. He's now the last family member I talk to, and it would seem he refuses to pick up the phone to contact me. He knows I want updates on his health, or lack thereof, and I get nothing. So the feeling on my end is "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," and my father is a VERY old dog, and loving his kids is a VERY new trick.

And let's not forget my closest friend in the known universe, Julie, with whom I had a blowout months ago. With Becky here, and the glorious feelings of falling in love, I decided to offer the olive branch and perhaps share the good news that I'd found someone special. Hoping to reach her when I called, I was connected to a recording telling me that the number I was trying to reach was disconnected. No attempted contact before that happened. No updates on her life. She was just gone. And that hurt a lot.

So I'm sitting here and suffering the existential blues. I'm taking up space on the planet. I'm using up perfectly good air that others could be breathing. At best, I am a source of income to doctors, like the surgeon who's about to get paid for cutting open my arm. When do I receive something that says, "Hey, Rob...? You're a great guy, and you deserve some kind of reward." I'm not looking for riches or material things. I want validation of my self-worth.

That's when I think of Becky. G-d above, I must have done something right to be so blessed as to have her enter my life! She loves me without question, which is a first for me. I'm so accustomed to people who question my worth first, and decide to love me second. "Do you work? What's your income? What can you do for me?" Becky cares about none of that, despite my best efforts to make her very aware that I am a broken man. If I were a car, then any repair work they do in the shop will just keep me running, but I'll never handle the way I once did. Becky loves me for the man I am.

Here's a typical conversation between us. The "parts" are written as such because either one of us could be saying the same thing at any time.

Me/Becky: How did I get so lucky?
Me/Becky: Lucky with what?
Me/Becky: Lucky at finding you.
Me/Becky: It's not luck. It's punishment.
Me/Becky: No...You're the best thing to happen to me in a long time.
Me/Becky: You're crazy.
Me/Becky: Yep...Crazy about you.
Me/Becky: I don't know why you feel that way. I'm nothing special.
Me/Becky: But you are special...Special to me.
Me/Becky: I still don't know why. I didn't do anything all that special. I was just myself.
Me/Becky: That's what makes you so wonderful. This is your natural state.

Becky is my daily affirmation in life right now. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "She's the reason I've stopped EXISTING and have started LIVING." I often doubt the existence of G-d, even though I give the respect I've been taught by not spelling out His name. Still, I am shown miracles from time to time. These miracles are nothing as visually confounding as the parting of the Red Sea or a pillar of fire; they are often more along the lines of finding someone as sweet and beautiful as my lady-love.

But then I was given another boost this very morning.

My knee hurts, and a storm is raging outside. Having woken up to both, sleep would not be returning immediately. Thus, I went to my usual sites to check messages, and there was something awaiting me at GitP from someone I didn't know. The private message title was simply "Thanks." Here's what was inside:

Not a thanks from me personally, but more of just a general thanks for doing something as great as the depression thread. I spent some time reading through it, and it really seems like a great place for people to go when they need help/someone to talk to. It's odd that making the thread is such an easy thing to do, but I really think that it takes a great person to think such an idea up; definitely wish I would have had access to something similar a few years back. Anyways, just wanted to give you the thanks you deserve for working on such a thing, and I hope the surgery you mentioned in a recent post goes/went well.

I'm a bit scared, what with surgery coming up and all. There's something about being knocked unconscious and having soemone slice your flesh that is more than a bit unnerving. And so I have been coming a little unglued. In an attempt to deal with the trauma associated with surgery, my brain has been forcing me to shut down more often than I'd like. Without notice, I could feel the sudden urge to sleep.

What holds me up, gives me a substantial boost, and often sustains me are people like Becky and the total stranger who decided to write me a thank you note. I won't turn away sacks filled with cash. But the truly greatest reward - one that is so valuable that it has no price tag - is someone thanking me for being myself.


evan said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I constantly bring you up in conversations as a model of selflessness. You are one of the few inspirations in my life.

Anonymous said...

Like Evan... when I need someone to point at when talking about why there ARE good people in the world... you're the first one I point to.

You're amazing, Bor, even if we haven't really talked in a while. You're very often in my thoughts and prayers. Knowing you has indeed been a blessing.