I have had an incredible weekend, complete with attending a Jewish service Saturday morning that was led by a friend of mine, and I've also gotten inspired to post about making judgments about people sexually or politically based on how religious they may be.
But, I thought I'd spend a couple of posts devoted to a few of my life rules. Yes, I have life rules. If you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything, and exceptions are for people who don't have real standards. They're not particularly religious, beyond the fact that I think taking care of one's self and setting standards is a part of any spiritual journey.
So, I went through my voicemail box tonight (I hadn't cleaned it out since October...oops), and I found one that I'd saved just because it served as a reminder of one of my favorite life rules.
The rule is this simple: no manipulative people. No being manipulative, and no letting manipulative people stay in my life (that's where burning bridges can come in handy if need be).
Ain't nobody gonna tell me what I "should" be doing. God made me smart enough to have my own life, and I am incredibly capable. I resent people who can't just be open and honest about what they want, who use people and push them around and claim it's "for their own good." And anybody who's pulling the whole "the ends justify the means" thing needs to read up on Stalin as far as I'm concerned.
Furthermore, I resent people who manipulate my friends. Hell hath no fury like a woman who's realized her friend is getting used or played in some way. This year, somebody was using my friend, and I got so pissed off that I told them off at 3 am, and I put on my high heeled boots to do it. And my accent came out and my voice got low.
But sometimes you can't help somebody as much as you want to. You can't just jump in front of them like a crazy person and go "RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY!!!" and hope they'll pull a Monty Python and the Holy Grail and run the f$%^ away. It's that person's own decision, and one can only hope that one day he or she will realize what's actually going on. And you can't think less of someone for getting manipulated. To deal with a truly manipulative person is like swimming against a riptide.
And you can't possibly understand it until you've lived it. From terrible friends to abusive partners, it's hell itself, and so many people just don't get it. (For example, I had someone tell me recently that abused women who stay in an abusive situation are morons who clearly just didn't get it.) It's virtually impossible to get out of such a situation without a lot of help and support, either divine or mortal, and sometimes it's impossible to see what's going on until you are safely on the shore again.
Hindsight is 20/20 after all.
Sometimes, I wonder if Jesus would've changed anything he did. Not that I'm suggesting he made mistakes, but if he could have a second go at everything, would it be different? Would God have done things differently if He could re-do the adventures of the Pentateuch? Not give Miriam leprosy? Not drown all of humanity besides Noah? Not let that goshdarn snake in the garden? It's kind of fun to imagine God thinking about such things, though I'm guessing he's far too busy working on the future.
Then again if you take a cyclical view of time that's a whole different story...
Anyways, I don't think God wants people to be manipulative. He's got enough of a plan to not need us to take others' lives our own hands. Take the story of Joseph. So many people tried to manipulate him, including Potiphar's wife and his brothers, to take his life out of his own control, but God still kept him on the right track. People don't have a right to meddle in other people's life tracks, no matter how well meaning they may be.
So that's one of my life rules. No manipulative people.
N.B.: For a more musical rendition of this life rules, I would recommend Sarah Bareilles' new single "King of Anything."