Monday, January 10, 2005

Interpreting Intervention

On Saturday I saw a woman at the local YMCA who, if seen on a television infomercial would have prompted people to give so that she might live, that she might eat, that she might find nourishment and health. She was THAT thin. She may have been 10 or more years older than me but it was really hard to tell. She moved with a zombie-like gait from weight machine to weight machine and I almost thought I'd see her catapulted across the room when she began to work with the bands and ropes.

On Sunday I had a chat with my sister about a mutual friend who was battling depression and we felt helpless to help. I also watched a Real World episode with a girlfriend where one of the residents of this "real" house was obviously "really" battling alcohol.

With each instance I wondered about intervention. When is it ok for someone at the Y to say, "Enough! M'am, you need to walk away from this machine and let us talk to you about the other side of health . . . eating."? How do you stop a friend's spiral when you know you don't have the tools and that any suggestions will probably just add you to the list of those with whom ties have already been broken? Can television producers be held accountable for stepping in when one of their "real" characters is in real trouble?

Relationships take guts. I sometimes wonder if I have the intestinal fortitude to live life in community.


Jean said...

Are you in my brain today, or what?

I too have two friends that need help and I feel helpless with them. I want to say to them "Hey! Snap out of it! Make a decision. Make your life better. Go!", but there is so much fear. What if my saying that does send them in a direction and it's the wrong one for them? What does my time frame matter, it is their life? If they are patiently waiting for a sign, who am I to stomp on that and force them to make a decision they aren't ready for?

I think I wonder how can we do something else. Perhaps not an intervention per-se, but just a confrontation with truth. To say, from your heart. "Hey, your marriage is in a bad place and you need to take some time to work on it." As opposed to saying "Get out!" When the "she" is not the ones with the issues, but "he" is and it is he who needs a friend to snap him out of it. Do you talk to him? DOes that betray her trust in you? Do you have any place stepping in at all to someone else's relationship even when you see that their current path is causing someone you love pain? I feel immobile.

And what is worse, not confronting those who need help that you see passing on a street, or those you love. It may be easier to say to someone you don't know. And honestly, it may have a greater effect since that person will reflect on what caused you to speak to them. Whereas with a friend, the relationship is there and they may be too blinded with other questions and judgements to take is as plainly as they would from a stranger.

KC said...

Yep! I'm really working on having the courage to speak the truth in love . . . not judgment in superiority . . . or even reality in practicality but simply "here's what I see and I pray it helps." But having the courage to do that (if I've been invited to do so) is hard.