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Dan Shortridge

December 1997

A few general comments on life and love

I must admit that I don't quite know where to begin this month's column. So much has happened, I'd just like to hit the high (or low) points...

First of all, Beth and I have broken up. The distance and the time have taken their toll, I think. I suppose it was almost inevitable, but that doesn't make it any easier. As Roger asks in RENT, "Why does distance make us wise?" The times we spent together were so precious and beautiful... and we will always have the memories, and the dreams. Aruba included.

Secondly, one of my closest friends here at Wooster is a recovering drug addict. I'll call her Karen. The night before Halloween, Karen had a very bad relapse -- which, as any counselor will tell you, is a part of recovery. But she was devastated by the fact that she had "gone back."

The same night that Karen had a relapse, her best friend Lisa was raped by an off-duty campus security guard. The two friends spent a week in the campus health center talking with counselors and under constant attention. Both Lisa and Karen are doing considerably better now; Lisa came forward and told her story under cover of anonymity to the campus newspaper last week. She's much braver than I could ever have been in her situation.

A third friend, whom I'll call Jackie, broke up with her girlfriend a few days ago. Lisa and Karen went out and watched movies with her the other night to help cheer her up. The three ended up dyeing Jackie's hair green. (Let's just say that they must have a rather interesting support network).

So there's a very complicated situation here -- I guess you could call it a friendship square (as opposed to a love triangle). All four of us are working to help keep each other sane.

Anyway. The point that I want to make here is one that I never thought I'd be making even a month ago -- that life does go on. Even after a painful relapse into drug-induced oblivion. Even after breaking up with someone who means the world to you. Even after being violated by someone you trusted. Life does go on.

It's not always fun, or happy, or even so-so. Life can be painful... but friends can help ease the pain. And sometimes you can take those problems or mistakes or bad situations and turn them around -- so that you not only learn something from them, but build good things upon them.

Jackie told me last night that she was never going to be able to love someone in the same way again. That is probably true -- I don't know if I'll be able to love someone the way I was in love with Beth. There are many kinds of love, some more powerful than others. All keep you walking, always moving forward -- and some can even help you to fly. Just reach out and celebrate the love in *your* life. There's no day but today.

Well, enough of my rambling. Until next year...

Shalom, Love,

Dan


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