Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lesson From Londo



Autumn 2010

I look back fondly at a time not that long ago when I was greatly satisfied and happy with the man I had chosen for a partner. We spent our quiet moments doing many things, and one of the best for me was watching our way through the entire series of Babylon 5 on DVD. What I remember most was looking forward to going upstairs together and watching an episode in bed before we slept. I remember the warm feeling I would get each time I crawled into bed beside him and how it felt back then to be together enjoying that time together. I remember it being peaceful, I thought it was honest and I believed it to be complete.  

Sometimes when I see something on TV or in a movie, it resonates with me and I never seem to be able to forget it.  It happened in the 16th episode of the 3rd season. One of my favorite characters was an ambassador named Londo Mollari.  Londo was a colorful fellow, sometimes hot and sometimes cold, bred to be unscrupulous but with a sense of justice. Londo was obnoxious and while it was always veiled in deep sadness he also had a great capacity to love.  I loved watching Londo grow and change, and sometimes retreat into past bad behavior. He was always forgiven. I always believed Londo would eventually do the right thing.   

In this particular scene,  Londo was telling Captain Sheridan who had travelled 17 years forward in time how the capital city of his planet, Centauri Prime came to be in ruins, and while it was a short statement it stayed with me ever since I heard it for the first time. 

 "During your little war, you drove away the shadows. Oh yes. But you did not think to clean up your mess! If a few of their minions, their dark servants, came to Centauri Prime, well. Where is the harm in that? Yes?" Londo Mollari

Recently I found myself spinning in all directions as my newlywed husband, that same loving partner, checked out of my life first emotionally, then mentally, then physically. Each step he chose felt as though I was being thrown into a shredder, and nothing that came out the other side even remotely resembled the me that was there when he threw me in. At that time I had come to the conclusion that I had no choice but to lay it all out in front of him and hope he would come to a place where he could see what our lives had become. It was my hope that he would consider the truth and seek to save us but instead  I was blindsided by things that later I realized I should have seen coming.  There was one huge outburst of anger from him, that frightened me terribly.  I really had no idea that our relationship was so fragile on his side that one burst of anger would end it all for us.  For many months I processed this but could never remotely understand what had happened. He announced that he was going to "own" the fact that he was a horrible husband.   He said it was nothing I had done. He said it was all him. He said there was no one else. He said and did a lot of things, none of which I have bothered to believe or accept and none that to this day come close to paying for the overall damage I have been abandoned to repair.  All that mattered was that for whatever reason he chose to seek his own, and that meant I had to do the same.

A number of years ago a friend of mine sat me down and gave me a direct and brutal awakening.  I was fighting for my life on so many levels that I could no longer keep up or keep track. I was living and going through the motions trying to avoid a head on collision but the daily damage control was about all I could do to keep my head above water. The lecture my friend gave me boiled down to this: The only way through a difficult time is through it. You cannot go around it, or over or under it, you have to go through it.  The path is rarely left clear in times such as these, there has usually been a war filled with bloody battles and there is always destruction, there is always rubble. It makes a mess of people, it makes a mess of their lives.

It helped me quite a bit when I recently realized that what was required of me was that I have the courage to follow the steps that were laid out in front of me logistically so that I could pass through. I did not have to "live up " to him or anyone else or anything. I did not have to remain attached, despite his financial obligation to me.   It also helped me to realize that I was no one special in this equation, I was just like the others, passed through, used up and finally thrown away. I am certain I will not be the last.  When I finally got it in my head that he was nothing special either, it all became easier to negotiate. I had to move on.  I had to stop thinking of myself as anything to him.  The truth is that in order for any of us to truly "own" a problem or situation, we have to take responsibility for what we have done.  We have to accept our part in things and act accordingly.  The forms have to be filed, the debts have to be to be paid, and the innocent one's have to be healed.  We have to take the time and be careful to clean up our mess before we dare to drag it all behind us into the next inevitable relationship.  I knew he would have one before me. I knew what he would do before  he did it because he had done it all before, and never, ever, bothered to clean up his mess.

Recently a respected new friend taught me that going forward and really living demands focus and attention towards the direction I intend to go. He told me that I had to keep my mind on the things important and work on them one at a time until I get to where I need to be to be truly free. There is really no other way to be ready for the next chapter of my life.  I had to take the time to clean up the mess. This is real wisdom for reality, not playtime games in fantasyland.  My life is at stake, and I intend to prevail.  I appreciate this man, this protector, this willing friend and guide.  It has been a long time since anyone made this much sense to me, and with such good feeling. 

Yes, there was someone who was applauded in a certain realm for battling his demons which he laid out upon the table for all to see, and yes he fought his little war, not bothering to close the door when he fled and not bothering to clean up his mess.  Will I be like Londo Mollari, living out my existance with a Keeper around my neck choking me into submission in hopes of saving my world? I don't think so.  It is a better choice to take the time to clean up my mess, take stock of all I truly own, and close that door behind me.

Thank you Londo Mollari..for the reminder.  



  1. Wow . . . this is some deep and powerful stuff. Clearly you've wrestled long and hard with your experiences, and as painful as it has been, you are ready to come out stronger. This nuanced and sometimes ambiguous recounting of your experience makes obvious your sensitivity and growth. I wish you well as you continue your journey forward.

  2. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate your well wishes for my future.