Monday, August 8, 2011
The Unexpected Challenge Of The Unchallenging
"I did feel bad about killing my mother, but . . ."
I cut her off right there. "Marley, we've been through this, you know it wasn't your fault."
"I know, I know," she assured me, "I'm just saying, when I thought I was responsible for what my dad did, it was something that shaped who I was. People talk about how they carry a burden and it affects who they are, but it's more than that. How can you react positively to anything when you're enveloped in negativity? It's not always something that's ingrained.
"I think this is worse. I think if a traumatic experience shapes who you are, and it's something you might not remember, but you're sad by nature, it's different than knowing you might be able to respond in a good way to something, but you don't, because something you remember makes you feel unworthy."
"Which is worse?" I asked. Before she answered, I clarified the question. "Which is easier for an Angel to treat, do you think?"
"I don't know. If it's a memory, they need to accept the past. If it's ingrained, they need to accept themselves. It's a challenge either way."
Which brought us back to our prime example. "The first time you talked to your mother after she died, how did you approach it? Did you say you were sorry?"
"No," Marley said. "I knew it wasn't my fault at that point, you showed me that. It was just like a big reunion. Really big, like, a few decades and across dimensions is a lot to reunite from. But that's the thing, that's the challenge. It's not like everyone has a problem that can be fixed by dying and seeing a dead relative. We're supposed to help people when they're still alive."
"Why are you asking? Are you in the middle of a tough case right now?"
She shook her head. "No, but they've all been easy so far. I always worry about the really hard case that might come along and what I'd do if I couldn't help somebody?"
"Marley, did it ever occur to you that the reason all your cases seem easy is because you're really really good at this?"
She though for a second. "I guess I never thought of that. Maybe I shouldn't worry so much."
I nodded. "True that."
She smiled. "Did you just say, 'True that?'"
"I did. I must have picked it up from Tony. You pick anything up from Suzanne?"
She thought for a second and said, "Well, she says 'sammich' a lot, I think that's a Chicago thing. I don't like that though."
"What does that even mean?"
"It's how they say 'sandwich.'"
Thank god for Marley's better judgment.