“We’re put here on earth to learn our own lessons. No one can tell you what your lessons are; it is part of your personal journey to discover them. On these journeys we may be given a lot, or just a little bit, of the things we must grapple with, but never more than we can handle.
We will learn that we are not alone, seeing instead how we are all connected, how love grows, how relationships enrich us.
We will learn the truth about our illusions, about happiness and the grandness of who we really are. We will learn how we have been given everything we need to make our lives work beautifully.” ~ Elisbeth Kubler Ross
People come into our lives to teach us these lessons. Goose and I are entering in to an opportunity to learn something from each other. Goose and I were both about to learn a lesson about self-worth. Neither of us learned this lesson easily. A Two Steps Forward, One Step Back approach seems to be how I learn most of my life lessons.
In my tiny small kitchen, Goose and I stood facing each other by candlelight. Goose was much too distracted by his thoughts to even hug me. He slowly began telling me what was weighing so heavily on his mind…… After my wife died, I was lonely and I started going to see exotic dancers when I was on the road for work. And I got to know one dancer, a 28-year-old black girl. She would talk to me sometimes and we became friends. Then she told me she was in trouble and needed some money. So I helped her out. Over time she told me that she didn’t have money for an apartment, so I paid rent for her and her daughter. About once a week I’d go see her and we’d have a date. She’d pick a place and I’d take her to dinner. She always meets me outside. I never have been inside the door of the apartment. I’d buy her dinner and drinks, and sometimes take her shopping. Once at a mall, she said she needed a Coach purse for $700. I didn’t want to, but I bought it for her. She doesn’t allow me to kiss her or even touch her. Her car broke down once and so I loaned her my car, I picked her up and brought her to my house that one time to give her the car. She wasn’t there an hour and she left. She has never come back since. She won’t meet my family. She told me her daughter needs to go to a special school and she can’t afford the tuition, so I pay her daughter’s tuition. I’ve been doing all of this for over a year, since my wife died. My son thinks she’s using me for my money.
(Take a slow cleansing breath, and once more.) Yes.. this is Goose’s lesson, and mine. I can hear you all gasping. As a counselor-person, I’ve learned to withhold those shock-type responses so that my reaction doesn’t traumatize the client. I know it must have been VERY difficult for Goose to tell me about all of this. It took a great deal of courage to become that open and vulnerable with a woman he’d only known for a few weeks. You and I see the same broken man standing in my kitchen on Thanksgiving evening. My response to him is probably different than what your’s would be.
Instead of saying ‘bye-bye now’, I saw him with eyes of compassion. In order for a person to be willing to pay out the kind of money Goose was giving this girl… he had to have a huge emptiness inside of himself. And because he didn’t think he was worthy enough of being loved on his own merit, he paid for the illusion of having someone in his life.
Why did Goose choose now to begin working through this? Because its time. He is ready now. He wasn’t a few weeks ago. I came into his life now, just as he came into mine. We are both ready.
I knew that Goose had to see on his own what this girl was doing. He had to see on his own if she was giving him love and caring or if she was using him. So.. I asked him to tell me what he knew for certain, the facts and only the facts. The things that were provable.
He had never seen a lease, he had never been in the apartment he was paying for. He had never seen a receipt from the child’s school nor did he know the name of the school. In fact, he didn’t even know if there was a child. He had never met her.
After several minutes of silence as Goose was pondering ‘the facts’, I told him some facts that he already knew. (Here’s where my self-esteem lesson becomes apparent.) He knew that I had come to his home and he’d been to mine. He was in fact here now. I was willing to meet and spend time with, not only his adult children, but also his grandchildren. Goose and I have touched, and hugged and kissed. I also told him the qualities I see in him. That he has a kind and caring heart. He’s generous and thoughtful. That he doesn’t judge people. All qualities I’d like to have in a dating partner.
What I was doing was trying to prove up to Goose, and to myself, that I was good enough. Good enough as a woman, and good enough as a partner. Because I have those same qualities that I see in Goose. But I subconsciously took one step further. I set out to demonstrate just how ‘good enough’ I was.
As the clock was nearing midnight and the candles were burning down, I heard my son rustling from the other room. Goose whispered “thank you.” Both of us quite stunned from this raw disclosure, we stood there awhile holding each other. I told Goose he would have to decide what he wanted for his future. More of what he’d had for the past year, or was he ready to risk something real that could actually give him what he was wanting in the first place? I was hoping he’d choose me.