I saw several posts that B made on Facebook, full of anger, contempt and vitriol. It’s been a couple of years or so since he moved to Canada with his family. It looks like his life there is good, he has a good job and his kids are in a good school. But I see his anger is still directed at the imperfect country he left behind. He probably doesn’t think much of us who remain here through choice, or lack of choice. There are times his arrogance makes me want to unfollow him, but then I think of our shared past, and the reasons why we are still friends. I am surprised by his bitterness and negativity when the changes he has made to his life have resulted in what should be positive things.

The Dalai Lama says, “It is possible to develop a… forceful but far more controlled energy with which to handle difficult situations. This controlled energy comes not only from a compassionate attitude, but also from reason and patience. These are the most powerful antidotes to anger. Unfortunately, many people misjudge these qualities as signs of weakness. I believe the opposite to be true: that they are the true signs of inner strength. Compassion is by nature gentle, peaceful and soft, but it is very powerful. It is those who easily lose their patience who are insecure and unstable. Thus, to me, the arousal of anger is a direct sign of weakness.”

I ask myself if the ties that bind B and myself have faded. Time and distance have necessarily contributed to that. But time and distance afford me the conscious decision to try to be compassionate. I do not know exactly why he is an angry person, but I can only understand that he IS angry, and that there must be a good reason. I cannot stop him from dripping with contempt, I can only feel that it is one of his coping mechanisms. This does not make him a bad person, only different from how I am. I am not necessarily in a better place than he is, to think this way. I can only acknowledge that he is how he is now. And I can acknowledge my momentary distress with his behavior. I wish him good things, things everyone deserves. He makes it difficult, but friendship takes work. He still considers me a good friend, for what it’s worth.

The Dalai Lama continues: “For a person who cherishes compassion and love, the practice of tolerance is essential… Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress and behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people.”

Of course people also say not to surround yourself with toxic people. It’s not too bad; he’s half a world away. I love myself enough to be able to occasionally mute him. There will be times when things will be better and won’t be this way. We continue to grow.

Daily Prompt: Faded