Thursday, January 29, 2009
What I learned from Adam Walsh (Leah)
So much in my head – constantly thinking I should blog, but then I don’t get around to it and I feel guilty. Guilt is useless. ’m going to come up with something now. Today my students and I were discussing competition, in particular among friends. Is it good? Is it okay to compete against friends? Can a good friendship survive the most difficult situations? Well, it just so happens I was talking to a friend last night about the recent news in the Adam Walsh case. I remember as a young child watching the “made for TV movie” about his disappearance. What I remember most from that story is that his disappearance led to troubles in his parents’ marriage. In my memory they wound up divorced, but I think in the news recently I noticed they were married, so who knows where I got that idea. But the point is, when I was young I took note of an important lesson from his disappearance. I learned that when really difficult situations arise, marriages often can’t survive. The individuals turn so inward toward their own grief and suffering that they fail to support each other and think of those who are still living. It’s true that what happened to them was horrible and hard, but that was the time to really rely on each other and look for ways to comfort and sustain the other – not turn inward. Easy for me to say, I guess. But a few years ago when I was experiencing some of my own very trying grief I was also in the middle of a long distance relationship that I felt was taking a lot of time and attention. When I complained to him of how hard it was for me to worry about “us” while also coping with my own personal trial he suggested we break things off. I responded quickly with a “no way” – I had seen the story of Adam Walsh and I knew that when things get tough then that’s when you stick together. That’s when you just try harder to be there for each other. I was just asking him to do more since I was feeling so emotionally drained. A month later he broke it off. He said he wasn’t feeling right about it – I can totally respect that decision, but at the time I wondered if my personal challenge precipitated his lack of feeling. It was long distance – I think it’s hard for a man to feel like he’s really helping emotionally when he’s physically so far away. It was an amicable break up – my trial had passed by that time (nearly) and I was able to move on. Still, I won’t forget the important lesson I learned from Adam Walsh. He taught me how relationships can (and must) survive the most difficult situations. And I guess a question for another day is how do you deal with personal suffering without dragging others down with you? Maybe I know the answer but I think I need to constantly ponder it.