This is kind of involved but I'll try my best.
July 1 of 2012, a friend, her son, and her boyfriend were homeless and needed to stay with us. We agreed.
Months went by. One of them got a job.
They were supposed to be saving up for a place of their own, but there were endless complications.
January arrives, and I set a deadline. They leave February.
It turns out they weren't saving money at all, but using it to buy marijuana.
The mother and son now live in Idaho with family and are doing well.
The boyfriend showed up at my partner's workplace in June. He was homeless and hungry.
His family was going to buy him tickets home at the end of the week. We let him stay.
A series of complications and delays began of every kind imaginable.
Months went by.
We began to get suspicious. He said he got two jobs.
About a week ago, we found out he didn't have one of them.
While apologizing about misleading us, I now know he was continuing to lie then as well.
We dropped him off at an "appointment" he had at a shelter downtown Tuesday.
The appointment didn't exist. We're starting to unravel what's been months of lies.
It's to the point that I think he may have a disorder, a pathological compulsion to lie that needs professional help.
But unlike the first time where I had no qualms about making them leave, this time I'm uneasy.
He never threatened me, and doesn't come across as a threatening person.
When I practice tong len, I manage to do it for some pretty hard to love people.
However with him, it's not that I can't feel love for him, but rather that it feels dangerous to do so.
He showed up at my partner's work again tonight, only a few days after we made him leave.
He wanted to stay for "just one night".
I almost said yes, not for the same compassion as the first time, but because it felt dangerous not to.
I actually got a strong gut feeling, not something I'm familiar with as a relatively stoic person.
So I called a friend who said inviting him in again would be very risky, and I said no.
It made me realize how badly my own judgment had been short-circuited over the months. I couldn't trust my feelings since I'd pushed them aside for so long.
I'm not sure what I'm asking for, I guess.
I remember a quote from a charity founder. Someone asked if he was worried about being taken advantage of. He said, "We give our advantage away."
I tried to apply the same attitude. But months later, it seems like nothing happened at all.
His situation is back to square one, and I've picked up this new bundle of weird emotions.
It feels a bit nihilistic in a way.
It may be a very sad illustration of how suffering runs in circles in samsara. I don't know.
I'm trying to use it as an opportunity to see first-hand the effects of delusion and false speech, and what it feels like for people who live their lives distrusting others.
But I'm not sure how to stop feeling physically threatened by someone else's considerable suffering.
Maybe it's too soon to expect that. The whole thing just makes me feel ill.
How would any of you begin to approach this?
Thank you very much!
Namu Amida Butsu
Amida gathers over the dry heart and sends living rains; the earth he covers in hands to bear up our steps; in each dark and bright place is written his Name for us to find. Wonderful, wonderful!