Choices, Friends, Letting Go

the world is glimpsed through veils

glass sculpture ben young 3
Sea of Separation, Ben Young

Sometimes you sit in a room with someone who is doing something hard. You sit with them and let them do the hard thing. You sit with them not doing the hard thing for them. You sit there not answering the questions facing them unless the questions are some version of, “Can I do this?” The only answer you say out loud is, “You’ve done hard things before. Of course you can do this.” You offer them sips of water. You keep the glass filled.

The full answer is something less definite. When they’re done, they’ll know. They will either be done by getting to the other side or they will be done by leaving it undone and deciding to be done anyway. Even if “maybe” is the answer that comes washing up when they ask, you sit near and say little. You continue to believe they can and will be done, one way or another. You choose to believe in them enough to sit and witness them chipping away at each small hard bit of the large hard thing. You hold their unformed capacity along with them. You sit with them and you smile gently and remind them that you are here beside them no matter how they muddle through, no matter which form of done ends up being their story.

Sometimes you sit in a room with someone who is doing something hard. You sit with them and let them grapple with the urge to give up. You sit with them not bearing the weight of the decision because it is their story. If they ask for a clue or a spell or a rope, you may offer a sip of water.

Keep the glass filled. Keep it near at hand.

Sometimes you sit in a room with someone who teeters on the brink of conceding defeat. You witness as they rehearse their departure. You sit there not answering the questions facing them. “What’s the point?” They may say. “What do I really lose if I quit now? How important is this really?” Even though answers are washing up, answers are scattered all over your shore, you sit not answering. You imagine these washing-up answers are the ones you would like to hear if your seats were reversed. You expect that if the seats were in fact reversed and they answered you with these answers, every answer would be wrong. So you sit and let the answers wash on back to sea.

Sometimes you sit in a room with someone. You sit close, cherishing them. You sit believing in their story while they decide what to do with the hard thing.

You offer them sips of water. You keep the glass filled.


The title of this piece is a line from a Suji Kwock Kim poem, “Monologue for an Onion” (2003)

4 thoughts on “the world is glimpsed through veils”

  1. not fixing is key but so alien for most folks, takes real discipline to let things be and for me gets back to yer post about illness and loved ones, the love doesn’t heal/fix but the difference between being sick and being alone or being with strangers and being sick while being loved is profound.

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