Henri Nouwen was right when he said, “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
The past couple of weeks, I’ve been faced with several stories. And before, I would be vocal on what I think about these stories, but for now, I will try to shut my mouth up about my views of them.
I will not comment…
I will not criticize…
Nor will I judge.
But I will share with you four stories that I’ve encountered recently. See if it made you think on how you live your life as it had made me think on how I should live mine:
I have two Japanese friends who have been together for over two years. She is a university student, while he is working part-time for Global Village, and is now in Japan getting a certificate for him to find a better job (he left two months ago). They have an age difference of 9 years. I believe she is 22.
Hence, he has no qualms of getting married, but is patient enough to wait till she finishes university. She in turn, knows that she is young and is just taking it day-by-day. But it’s quite clear that the man is in love with her.
Last week, I found out that while he is in Japan, she is secretly crushing on her fellow employee who also works at this noodle shop where she is waitressing.
I’ve also learned that she has been flirting with this guy, and has even invited him over to stay overnight at her place.
I don’t think they’re just playing cards or watching TV.
And to this, I’ll just say, “No comment.“
I have a good guy friend who’s in his 40s and has a terrific job. After his divorce, he was like an animal uncaged, going out clubbing and dating and flirting around. Finally, after over a decade of togetherness, he was free, and he made the most of his freedom.
KTV, Happy Hour, clubbing, doesn’t matter… if there was a social event, he was there. He loved to surround himself with acquaintances, and he made sure that he was oftentimes around people.
However, after a while, he didn’t like what he was turning into. Having grown up in a morally upright, traditional family, he was veering away from his roots. His roots went against his getting drunk and canoodling with all the women in a social event.
He said, “I used to look at my friends and laugh at them because they were players, running around and chasing after girls. Now, I’ve realized I’ve become them, and I don’t like what I was becoming.“
I didn’t like what he was becoming too, but I didn’t say anything. Sometimes, it’s better to have a friend make his own choices and live his life than to tell him what to do.
“Raven, I want a more stable life now. I want to change my life for the better, and find my true self,” he said. “I now want a serious relationship instead of just randomly dating around.”
Two weeks later, he brings out his new girlfriend.
A pretty-in-pink 24-year old Taiwanese cutie, who changes outfits over 3 times a day. Someone who is almost 20 years younger than him.
As one friend who saw them had said, “Raven, when are you going to get it? Guys and girls are just different. If you don’t believe me, then why would you think they’d specifically request for their own room?”
Another friend laughed and commented, “If they get married, then I’d think he’s real stupid. But he needs his fun, so let’s just let him have it. But the girl should be really stupid if she thinks he’ll marry her.“
Sigh, since when did we become cynics?
Since when did we refuse to believe in happily ever afters?
So again, I looked at my friends and said, “No comment.“
A girlfriend of mine came to me for help. She told me that she has started to date this guy, who was the ex-boyfriend of another common friend. She is 21 years old, inexperienced… while this guy was in his early 30s.
“It all started when I worked part-time in his restaurant,” she recalled. “After he and (common girl-pal’s name) broke up, he started inviting me to go drinking with him.”
“After a while, we started hanging out a lot,” she confessed. “And we’ve fooled around a couple of times but didn’t go further than that. Raven, I don’t know what to do!”
She told me that they’ve known each other for a month now.
“He would call at night and ask to come over, ” she reported. “And I would let him because my sister gets suspicious if I go out at night.“
I asked her whether the guy really liked her, or was just using her because she is convenient and he’s lonely after the breakup.
“M, don’t you think that if he and (common girl pal’s name) broke up, there has to be a good reason behind it?” I asked. “I know her, she will not breakup with a guy for no reason.“
“He said that she found herself another boyfriend,” M said. “I don’t know, I feel comfortable with him and feel that it’s okay to do stuff with him.“
It felt like deja vu. I myself have been in a slightly similar situation, with a bad ending. I can almost step-by-step predict what’s going to happen, because I myself went through the same thing.
“It’s so easy for a guy to be “into” you for a month,” I warned. “The real test is whether he’ll still be into you after half a year.”
“I don’t really care, Raven,” she wailed. “I like this guy!”
So what can I say to make her change her mind? To tell her what exactly I felt about her situation?
The thing is, I can’t.
She’s an adult now, and being in the midst of such infatuation, I can’t really make her listen to anything I say.
So I hugged her tight and said, “Be careful M. And if you need me, I’ll be here for you.“
I am sad.
A couple, who is are good friends of mine, have recently separated. As in for real.
They just want different things.
The girl wanted to go back home to the US and have kids, while the guy wants to stay in Taiwan, get his masters degree in Taiwan University, and then continue to travel around where life takes him.
Almost 9 years of marriage down the drain, starting from a fight during their anniversary. Now, she is back in the States, and has been there for the past 3-4 weeks.
“Of course, I am sad,” my guy pal said. “But my father sums it up well when he said, ‘You’re Peter Pan and (wife’s name) is Wendy and Wendy wants to grow up.'”
“Maybe I’m just selfish,” he replied. “But I know she can’t be happy here in Taiwan, and after seeing what being an expat is like here, I don’t think I can’t go back home anymore. We just want different things and I don’t see anyway to compromise without anybody being miserable.“
I have my own thoughts about marriage and commitment.
I believe marriage is forever, and there’s always a way to make things work out.
I care for both of them, they’re my dearest friends… but how can I just say, “That’s it?! It’s over?!”
Sometimes, I want to stand up and shout what I really feel, and tell them exactly what I really think…
But as their friend, I will not comment.
Instead, I will stand aside and let them live their own lives…
Let them make their own decisions…
And offer them support if ever they need it.
As I told my guy friend, “Hey, I don’t really know if I approve of what you’re doing or not, but do remember that I’m your friend and I’m here when you need me.“
“No matter what,” I continued as I gave him a strong hug. “I’m on your side and I love you.“
And I guess, for now, that’s enough.
After checking out 19 freaking places in 4 days, I finally found two I liked. But so far, couldn’t decide between the two. May you guys could help?
PLACE 1: Situated right in front of the Taipei City Hall MRT station, this NT$9,700 room has a closet, a double bed and a shared living room, small dining, kitchen, washing machine and bathroom with another Taiwanese roomie. The advantage is the distance; it’s a few minutes everywhere to Mitsukoshi, Taipei 101, Warner and the MRT. The downer is that you’d have to share it with somebody else, and if she does decide to work in the US (when an opportunity opens), I have a month’s notice to find a new apartment.
PLACE 2: 10-minutes walk from the Yong-Zhun station, this NT$15,000 rooftop apartment within a residential community is beautiful. It’s like having your own personal studio, with your own small living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom — all small mind you, but enough for one person like me. Hence, you have the privacy of leaving and entering as that teeny-tiny apartment is completely alone. Plus, the landlord will have her maid come up once in a while to clean, and you have a great view of the city, while enjoying the quiet atmosphere at home.
The con? The hefty extra NT$5,300 (Around P7,000 more) rent a month, and the 10-minute walk to the MRT. I mean, is it safe to walk for 10 minutes when you’re going home late? Exactly.
So now, I’m in a rut and have yet to decide. Maybe you can help?