Confronting This Impossible Situation With Blood On Your Hands

Sometimes you’re faced with an impossible situation and you don’t know what to think and there’s really no right thing to do.

Wait, let’s back up.

Because well before there’s the metacognitive awareness, “I see that this is an impossible situation,” you have to do your best to remember what it was like before. Back in the nebulosity. Already “how it was before” has begun to fade in light of the clear understanding that “here is an impossible situation.”

How, roughly, was it then before? From what you can remember, it was like a fog. This something was at the edge of your consciousness, sometimes coming into it and at other times going out of it. Occasionally, you wrangled with it or came–too quickly–to years’ long detente. Maybe the hope was that it would “just simply go away,” but you doubt that you ever voiced that thought or even had that feeling.

Evidently, you now see, for quite a while you had no idea how to really be with this, yet you also didn’t know that each way of relating to it was inadequate, incomplete, ill-conceived, or somehow else.

We are trying, right now, to remember how it was now that the fog has lifted. You don’t know in what ways you were blind or why exactly you were blind, but needless to say you were. Nor were you able to register how much what you now call “the impossible situation” irked, niggled, nibbled away at the edge of your consciousness. It hurt.

Now the ache, coming with the understanding, is here and clear: you’re in an impossible situation. If you consider it deeply and if you feel your way into the felt sense too, then soon you also come to see: “It’s just wanting too much from me: I can’t bear it any longer, but I’ll never be free of it.”

The more you think of what to do, the more you recognize that there is nothing you can do that won’t leave blood on your hands. No peace to be found and no way to disentangle the whole thing without its blowing up.

This realization too is unsettling and, for a time, may make you feel powerless, as if your hands are really tied. But then as the pressure from this unbearable something mounts (realization has a tendency to fast track what had been sorta fine, sorta not for sorta a while), you come to know that you must act. You can’t not.

The situation is impossible. It is unbearable. You’ll never be free of it. And you have to do something about it.

You now see that you’re left only with the least wrong option as the thing that you must do. And you know that when you act to effectuate the least wrong option, the impossible situation, as it dissolves, will be temporarily worse because visibly and feelingly explosive. The detente has ended, the long winter somehow experiencing, right now, the damned hottest days of summer.

So? So, forget about drumming up consolation for yourself (self-mollification will do you no good), and simply do your very best to accept that you’re confronting the tragic dimension of human life. Accept that blood is on your hands, no matter what. Embrace the least wrong option. And see that sometimes life falls into tragedy, and we, unknowingly until too late, are its pained protagonists. This happened to be that time for you.


I wish I could tell you that there is something you can “learn from all this,” but I’m afraid that even the wisest among us are subject, now and again, to blindnesses that sneak up on us until, much, much later, they’re bold enough to announce their presence as this impossible situation. And this announcement, remember, always comes long after you’ve been playing the part in a play that began some unspeakably long time ago…