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A friend of mine has been going through a hard time recently – I can only imagine what it’s like, but I’m doing my best to help anyway. I think there are only so many times you can say ‘I’m sorry’ before it ceases to mean anything; there are only so many times you can sympathise. In the end, you have to be a bit harsh.
But something I’ve told helps when things are going wrong is trying to find something to be grateful for. This friend of mine, he was having trouble with this. I told him he had to think of something before I’d stop moaning at him. But he thought of nothing.
“ Are you not grateful for the sunlight?” I text him. Our entire conversation was held in texts or over the phone. Somehow it’s harder to tell the truth face-to-face. “The first shoots of flowers? The first signs of spring? Do you not see the world healing around you? Have you no friends that encourage you and love you no matter what? Do you have no god, no hope, no faith in your life? You cannot be so ungrateful as to ignore the little things. Yes, they are small. So am i. There is so much good in this world and you must not let the evil push it from your mind.”
He did not reply for a little while. Then he said, “...i guess so...”
“Then show it, damn it! Act like you see the beauty all around you! Act like you look for it.”
A pause of ten minutes. I receive a reply. “I am not a good actor...i dont see beauty...i write my imagination...not what i see”
I will not give up when people are unhappy. I will cheer them up – I will force them to cheer themselves up – before I will leave them alone. I cannot let them go through this alone. So just a minute later I replied, “You don’t see the beauty because you are not looking for it.”
“Because what I find beautiful is different to what is conventionally beautiful...”
“Then look for what you want to find.” If you don’t find something ordinary beautiful, why not look for something else? If it is something that other people would think was ugly but that comforted you and made you feel better, that is the thing to look for, not everybody else’s idea of beauty. I am not asking you for everybody else’s idea ... I am asking you for yours. But I didn’t say any of this. He knew already, I think.
“...i guess...ive found something to be grateful for...that someone cares about me enough to shout at me to try to make their point...not just walk away like most people would”
“Well, my parents say i’m stubborn. I tend to prefer determined. Whatever, i don’t give up when there’s something that needs to be said. So, i’m trying to make a point. Thank me later, when it actually helps.”