Someone I love is doing something that is bad for her: She wants to move to Dysfunction Junction. I've been fighting it for a couple of years, trying to remind her how traveling by rail always makes her sick and how much she hated it when she last lived there.
Yesterday I got a call. She not only has bought tickets to Dysfunction Junction, she’s already packed her bags and made plans to take the kids along.
In the past as she’s talked about how I should give Dysfunction Junction another chance and how it has improved since the last time I was there, I've become incredulous and angry. How can she move back there when it was horrible? Does she remember that the bad roads and ridiculous housing prices and lack of Qdobas made her cry? Sure, her parents lived there, but doesn't she remember growing up in that shitty little town? Doesn't she want better for her kids?
Last night, as she told me about her preparations for her trip to crazy, I just let her talk.
Then I took a deep breath and told her I’d drive her to the station if she needed it.
At some point, you just can’t fight it anymore. You have to sit by and watch people you love take trains to places that are bad for them. You have to watch them take their kids with them. You have to swallow the fear and panic in your throat and accept that there isn't anything you can do to stop them that you haven't already tried--multiple times.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was arrested, imprisoned in a concentration camp, and eventually killed because he was part of a failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler. He said that if there is a madman driving a car toward a group of pedestrians, you are morally obligated to jam a stick in the spokes of his tires, causing him to wreck and possibly die in order to save the innocents.
That story has been going through my head for the past couple of years. Today I accept the truth: I don’t have a big enough stick.