I am an optimist. Or I used to be. No - I am still. I AM DETERMINED TO REMAIN AN OPTIMIST!
Here's the thing. I love believing in people. I believe in the romance of second chances. Rose-colored glasses for all! But as I get older, I see the world calls that "being naive".
The horrible thing is that most of my experiences back this world view.
To me, this is truly devastating. This RUINS me.
So much of who I am is wrapped up in this belief - in redemption and grace changing people's lives.
So . . . if it doesn't change people's lives . . . then - what?
A few years ago, I was a part of an "intervention" of sorts for a loved one. It was a nightmare. To have to look this person that you would do anything for in the eye and say if they did not do "X, Y, and Z" that you could no longer do anything for them. Of course, that's not a great synopsis of what was said - but still, I felt like a monster. The eyes I looked into were that of someone beholding the cruelest of beings.
Part of me wanted this method to fail. I wanted ultimatum's everywhere to fail and only endless mercy to prosper.
But it didn't fail - exactly. It was terrible for awhile. But this person, over time, picked themselves up by their bootstraps. I watched with mixed joy and horror as this "pulling away" motivated my loved one to succeed . . . completely separate from me and my life-changing grace and pardons.
I'm still not completely sold on this method. It is still the last of resorts in my mind. (One of the many reasons why I would not make a good counselor.)
I have seen some of that life-altering grace extended, over and over. But it doesn't seem to be "working". The life is not being altered. Will the loved ones be pressed to help at all costs - even the soul-sucking option of pulling away all support in hopes that this person will then stand on their own two feet?
I understand that we are humans. We are giving second chances to humans. Second chances are being given to us (humans). Of course, we're going to occasionally, if not more so, screw up.
I suppose, my point, if I have one is that I am scared by the notion that grace is not magic . . . but isn't it? Grace given not in order to motivate someone or to really have any end in sight. Just grace being offered. This must be supernatural, a boon to the soul (both to the giver and the receiver).
I suppose this unselfish grace - the grace that wants nothing in return for it - can (and sometimes must) coexist with other motivational methods. This kind of grace speaks to our deeper selves, our spirit. Ultimatums (depending on the specifics, I suppose) do not negate the grace that is offered. Right? Right.
Well I just walked myself right through that thought process - so maybe I would be a good counselor after all.