I read the book Siddhartha when i was in high school, going through an emo (Em's word) phase. The take-away from the book for me was that wisdom cannot be passed on, that each of us has to learn certain things for ourselves. That can't be true, i thought at the time, how silly! Of course i never listened to my mother. What did she know?
In her on-line group, Em has always been the Saver and the Peacemaker. I have listened to her stories and made a few comments to the effect that you can't save other people, they have to save themselves, you can help, but only when they are ready. Certain of these young girls seem to not really want to be saved, they want drama, they want some grand emotions to keep them occupied. (My interpretation.) But Em kept at it, sometimes crying when they would do some new foolish or destructive thing. I had to admire her compassion, while worrying about her taking care of her own self.
Em spent $50 once sending some flowers to one girl who was always sick, but would never eat or sleep or take care of herself. The $50 was about all Em had in the world, and this is how she chose to spend it. So instead of rolling my eyes, like i really wanted to, i helped her order and send the flowers. The girl in question never acknowledged the flowers. Em was philosopical about it but i was (in typical protective mommy mode) annoyed.
But mostly i just listened, and asked a few questions, and told Em that if so-and-so was really threatening suicide then Em had no choice but to contact the parents. It has never come to that, thank goodness, but damn has it been hard to not become disgusted and tell her to forget these drama queens and find some real friends.
Had i done that though, Em would have stopped telling me about it.
Recently, she has started telling me that she has had to stop trying to corral these young women into taking care of themselves. It was too hard on her and it never did any good. She is letting them drift on in the world without her.
I guess Herman Hesse was right.