“You screwed up, sure, but almost nothing is f***** up beyond fixing. Certainly not you.”
– Joel, Weregeek
July 15, 2019
Words we all need to hear, every so often.
For those who are unfamiliar with Weregeek, it’s a pretty decent webcomic, dramatizing the everyday lives of a group of geeks. Joel is the de facto leader of the central circle of friends, and there is a reason for that.
In this particular scene, the geeks are supporting one of their own, Mark, who has made a terrible mistake and behaved very poorly. Ridden with guilt, Mark is overwhelmed by how his friends are still there for him, with Joel as the ringleader. He starts by acknowledging the seriousness of what Mark has done, and then uses it, with the above quote, to emphasize what needs to be done, and why: they’re going to help Mark because Mark is not beyond help, or hope. From there, he takes the reins in getting Mark the care he needs (he calls it triage), starting with making sure he won’t commit suicide – and uncomfortable task, but necessary – then moving on to taking him to the hospital for a physical injury. And things proceed onward, the healing process begins.
I see a bit of myself in Mark at this moment. Who hasn’t done something stupid and hurtful in a moment of weakness? Emotional turmoil can destroy our reasoning and good judgment, and we tend to lash out at those closest to us in the worst way possible. Then, alongside the anger, comes the guilt, and the sorrow, and the despair. When we realize just how in the wrong we were, how we hurt those who care about us, we turn it inward, wanting to harm ourselves. We may even exaggerate the wrong we’ve done, and we see no way to fix things, no way back. We have fallen, and we can’t seem to pick ourselves back up.
I like to think there’s a bit of Joel in me, too. In particular, I like to think that a friend in need could look to me to say what Joel says, albeit with some slightly different phrasing. He’s absolutely right, and sometimes that is exactly what we need to hear. When we are telling ourselves that we can’t be fixed, we need someone to tell us that we can.
“Irredeemable” has a rather permanent meaning, and as people can/do change, all the time, that is the definition of something which is not permanent. We are not permanent in many ways.
Our mistakes may be everlasting, much like our successes, but we are capable of change. For better or worse.
A good man can become a bad man, and a bad man can become a good man. We can make ourselves more patient, more humble, more faithful, more compassionate, or we can go the other way. The point is, when we find ourselves broken and marred, we can take steps towards healing and peace. That is what so many of us forget, and we need to remind each other.
We can fix ourselves. We just need a bit of help, sometimes.