Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Yesterday I somehow worked together the fortitude to put together that cabinet that arrived last week. It’s a kitchen cabinet that I had purchased in an effort to alleviate the overflow from my Pampered Chef purchases (I really need to slow down on that), the associated optional pieces, the old small appliances I’ve up graded and the multitude of spices (yes, Pampered Chef sells marvelous spices) and tools. The cabinet itself is quite tall, with two shelves on the top part and one on the bottom, divided in the middle with a nice wide drawer. I spent a little bit more on a lovely design. A deep cherry wood color, nice curves, beautiful handles, it’s a marvel to behold.
It probably won’t last a week.
See, since I put it together, I know how it’s constructed. It is shoddy workmanship, came with damaged pieces, and the engineering holding it together was poor at best. The instructions to put it together were very poorly planned as well. It’s basically held together by that flimsy cardboard backing. The magnets to hold the doors closed had no guide holes or screws to attach it. The cam posts are held in with cheap plastic bases that didn’t properly guide the posts, so several are crooked and weak.
People are the same way. People can be beautiful and yet still hide severe deficiencies and weaknesses. The person we portray to the world is the best face we can put forward, but it might just be beautiful stain with beautiful features while hiding ugliness, weakness and pain. Some of us hide our struggles. We feel it’s a weakness to reach out for help, and so our depression and pain actually become more of a weakness than perhaps it should be. Some of us hide true ugliness, though, putting on a front of friendliness to the outside world, and yet displaying narcissism, bullying and cruelty to those who know us well enough to be able to see inside.
One of the hardest and probably most important things we can do for ourselves is recognize when we should simply give up on some of these beautiful people. For example, perhaps at a time that we’ve been weak ourselves we’ve turned to friends who enable habits of alcohol and drug abuse. It’s not uncommon, for example, for friends to bond over heavy drinking, but as we evolve, our friends don’t always grow with us. Oh, some might still like getting together on rare occasion for a night of heavy drinking, but there are some who fall into alcoholism to the point of harming themselves, and those around them. This addiction has a habit of turning people into needing that continued enabling and will turn to bully and guilt tactics to get others to join them in their decline. These people might have been good friends to us at one time, and it might hurt to let them go, but it is sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves. The anchor represents safety, but sometimes it has to be cut loose in order to fly.
I’m not done with this cabinet. It’s shoddy and flimsy construction does include some pieces of nice wood that should be able to hold a screw. Today I will pick up some “L” brackets and screws, and I’ll brace the top and bottom pieces. The brackets will, of course, be visible, but not on the exterior, and in the end the cabinet has the potential to become the strong and still beautiful piece I had hoped it would become.
Not every piece of furniture could be so reinforced. The wood panels and crossbeams are high enough quality for this to work, but I have worked with furniture made of balsa wood that would have not been able to have reinforceable. People can improve as well, and I love helping people to turn their lives around. In the end, they can come back stronger if they have the desire. One of my older friends had broken a cocaine addiction and had become a “Big Brother” to share his story. He was worried that I would have been better as an example having never had a chemical addiction (something I’ve worked hard to avoid), and yet, I believe he was far better because he could speak from experience of his decline, loss, and recovery. All I could do is discuss the theory. But people have to have the desire to improve, whether it’s a chemical addiction, or personality flaw like racism or narcissism, or whatever it might be. If they have the quality to be able to both recognize their flaws and truly want to change, then there’s a chance to help them.
In the end this cabinet will be even more beautiful, because I will see the outer beauty, and know the inner.