This past month I’ve spent time with several friends going through really rough patches. I’ve listened as they’ve shared their pain and disillusionment. And it’s been beneficial because I’ve been reminded of the rough spots in my life – and the fact that I survived them and I am wiser for it. Betrayal is a terrible thing – but until it happens to you, you don’t really know what you believe in. When your most deeply held beliefs are challenged it’s a real character discovery opportunity. Do you really believe in “do unto others” or just if they’re good to you? Do you really believe in forgiveness or only when something or someone you care about isn’t threatened? I am fiercely pacifist. So I thought. A few years ago a hateful person set out to deliberately hurt my son – I still imagine a bus turning a corner – and splat. Dead. I’m not such a pacifist. I just want the bus to do my dirty work. (In my fantasy I feel sorry for the bus driver. It seems unfair to saddle that person with this terrible burden.) When the unthinkable happens – something so painful it makes you revisit your beliefs about people, or the way the world works, or your own worth – you find out the depth of your commitment to “righteousness”. Everyone will, at some point, suffer the burn of shattered trust. When this happens it’s a kind of “trial by fire initiation” into true mature adulthood. Not to be too trite – but – there’s a beautiful clay technique – Raku. It’s beauty stems from its cracked surface and oxidation (fire). It’s solid underneath. The messy “slip” applied to the surface and the fire are necessary to create the cracked and multi-hued finish. The result is durable and beautiful. That’s you. Solid underneath. Messy and cracked by betrayal on the surface. Beautiful. Your worst hurts made you that way. And – really important: You will never know why “they” did what they did. It will always be at least a partial mystery. But that’s not your quest. You’re not here for that. You are here to figure out how to live with perfect purpose in an imperfect world. With imperfect people. Dang it.