Friday, 11 May 2012

First they came ... a poem to live my life by?

First They Came - Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

I have held this poem in my head for many years. It sums up, to me, how I should lead my life. I never wanted to be that person who crossed over to the other side of the street and did nothing to help.
Recently I have questioned whether I should live my life by this tenet.Part of me, a big part, thinks yes, of course you should, whatever it takes. Another part has started to wonder if maybe I should keep my head below the parapet, look the other way and leave it for others to act.
Maybe I am just a busy body? Maybe I am not the person I have always believed myself to be? Someone commented on my blog the other day and said I should be less judgemental. Am I judgemental? I never thought I was ...
As a child I kept very silent about things. I did not want confrontation and it was only in my twenties that I had the courage to speak out, even to argue with people. It took me a long time to have the courage to speak out in my own life and say "Stop". I'm not implying here that I have any deep dark secrets - I don't. But I struggled with shyness when I was younger and I was afraid to upset people by disagreeing with them. I spent much of my school life wearing my hair in the same style in case changing it would stop people from liking me ... so you see, I wasn't the most confident of children!
But now that I am an adult, heading towards fifty, I have experienced situations that have left me bruised and vulnerable emotionally. I know that in my life I have always thought about the poem above and tried to do the right thing. But has "doing the right thing" (in my opinion) actually been the right thing to do? How bad does a situation have to be before you should speak up? How unhappy does a person have to be before its alright to say "Enough!" ?
Other people have opinions and are not afraid to state them. I try to consider other people's situations before I get involved and I try to look at something from every side. I try to stand in the other person's shoes and try to approach life with humour and kindness. At least I thought I did. I have thought that I was kind and that I was a nurturer. Recently people have made me feel that I am not.
One of my greatest fears has been to find out that actually I am just a weirdo - someone that other people tolerate, but don't really like. Recent events have stripped me of my self confidence and made me question everything I hold dear. I question myself and my view of life and then a moment later I pull myself up short and tell myself to be strong, be confident in my beliefs and actions. I always thought that doing the right thing would be appreciated, but now I realise that sometimes you are just seen as a monumental pain in the backside - a self righteous prig.
Is that what I am? A self-righteous prig? Do I have an over-inflated opinion of myself? Am I actually a complete pain in the backside?
I don't know any more. I'm not fishing for praise here. I genuinely feel lost. The vast majority of , actually all my friends and family have been supportive, kind and encouraging whenever I have asked their opinions on actions I have taken, posts I have written. But are they just being nice? Its easier to just say nothing, isn't it - just pat someone on the head rather than tell them " Actually, no, you' are a pain in the bum" ?
I can only hang on to the fact that I know the difference between right and wrong and when I see something wrong I am not the sort of person to turn away and say or do nothing. If I make a mistake I am the first to put my hand up and admit that I have done something wrong. If I offend someone by my opinion I feel uncomfortable and  want to apologise. Right now, though, as I say, I feel lost. I am doubting the person I thought I was. I want to run away and hide. Bury myself under my duvet and never come out.


Ash said...

Dear Sarah,

Let me read what the matter is, and i will come back with my un-asked-for perspective. In the meantime I'm leaving some loving reiki energy with you, so don't feel alone. I sense your torment in the pit of my stomach. Do let me know if you feel I should be quiet and not say anything. That's okay too,


sarah at secret housewife said...

Oh Ash. I love that you have commented on this post. You made me feel warm and encouraged. I have been over to your blog to thank you, but I wanted to thank you on here too.Take care. Sarah xxx

Razmataz said...

I think you should trust your gut feeling. If you are uneasy ask those you trust for their honest opinion. I think you don't need to change yourself, but perhaps whatever about yourself is niggling at you and needs a fresh perspective. When you expose a part of yourself or have been challenged, it often creates doubt. I think you should be proud of being open and honest. The world is too full of small talk.

Have a good weekens.

Ash said...

Dear Sarah,

Okay, deep breaths. People are different as are their life experiences and therefore perspectives. The intentions behind our thoughts when we speak or write may be pure, loving and honest, but may struggle to get across to another. Not because our transmitter is flawed, (though that may be the case sometimes) but because the other's receiver is….well… on a different frequency.

Self doubt is also natural, as are the times spent crawled under duvets or just feeling plain rubbish! These are coping mechanisms, and will pass. The tragedy is not in feeling lost, or confused or hurt. The tragedy is to change course when the going gets rough.

I cannot comment on what you are going through in your life. There is a reason you keep that to yourself. I did however read the last few posts..

In one instance I feel your meaning and humour was not lost to the reader. It was funny - about the children, with a choice of phrase someone found objectionable given their life history. So they highlighted it, and carried on appreciating what you wrote. The problem probably arose when a comment became a conversation, and bruised egos joined the fray. As another lady said, follow your gut. If you feel a clarification or a change in phrase would correctly reflect you, so be it. If you feel you want to leave it there, and you are at peace with it, so be it too!

The second post, about being judgemental. Well everyone on this planet is judgemental. Its just a matter of degree, and whether it is expressed, or not articulated. Even the person writing the comment asking you to be less judgemental is well…judgemental. As am I..and the circle continues.

If some suffering is what I get for staying true to who I am, and upholding my belief in goodness and fairplay, so be it. I will emerge from this, not necessarily stronger, but not weakened either to alter who or what I am.

Apologies for taking up space and rambling. The words may not come out right, but the intention is good and from a loving place.. Sleep well..

with love and more healing energy..

Nicki said...

Thank you for sharing that poem. It is awesome and certainly inspirational. It is good to keep in the back of your mind but I don't think it is intended to make you feel bad about yourself! It is all about balance, my friend, and doing what you feel is right AT THE TIME! Sometimes, it is right for you to step in and you will know when those times are because you will feel compelled to do so. Sometimes it is right to walk away and say a quick prayer for God take charge. You will recognize those times as well because you will feel compelled to walk away. TRUST YOUR GUT and when you do, DON'T PLAY THE PAST OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN YOUR HEAD. You did what was right at the time and that is the best you can do. Move forward and repeat. =)))

sarah at secret housewife said...

You know what? I feel so lucky that I can write down my thoughts and then you arrive from out of the ether to help me.I really appreciate all your comments and you talk such good sense.
I love the thought of being on different frequencies and I love that all of you have taken the time to write what you have.You have made me think and have lifted me up.
I shall hold my head high and move forward!I wish you could all come round and I could cook you a delicious meal and open some nice wine. Really, thank you for your words.

Nicki said...

You are welcome! What time is dinner? =)