I’ll admit the image of you bothered me. Being around you always placed me on edge. It made me uncomfortable and uneasy within myself. I prayed about it. I know division is not of God and so for months I tried to figure out why. Why is it that I felt this aversion to you? You’ve been nothing but smiles and positive energy.
I realize we usually dislike in another what we do not like in ourselves. And so it was easier for me to look at you and criticize than it was for me to look at me and confront myself.
I realize that maybe I so easily identified you because I am you. Maybe I felt put off by you because you were my mirror. I’d always felt as if I “knew” you. Perhaps I felt that way because I recognize my pain in you.
Had this gone differently, I could have shared some things with you.
I could have told you that, like you, I know the pain of loving someone so deeply that you give them all of you – only to watch them try to decide if all you gave is even worth their time.
I know the pain of hope and desire – and if there’s anyone alive that doesn’t know that pain they’ve probably never wanted anything bad enough. I know the pain of a sick heart in waiting, just watching that desire get crushed over and over and over again.
I know the pain of time passing and seeing no reward – watching the days go by and watching your face grow old as your prayers go cold wondering how long… When will God come?
I know what it is to have a desire so deep and a need so desperate that everything you see, feel and hear becomes a sign from God that it’s about to come to you.
I know the pain of doing life alone- to be so lonely you just want someone… anyone… to acknowledge you, acknowledge your efforts, your brilliance or just say “my, you look beautiful today.”
In the absence of that acknowledgment, I know what it is to create it for yourself then project it onto someone else – just to believe that in this cold world you are not alone, even if you have to trick your mind into it.
I know the pain of coming home night after night to a silent house… with aching shoulders and throbbing feet.
Like you, I know the pain of regret. I know what it is to have made a bad decision and to have walked away from something fruitful – for whatever reason it was you told yourself you had to do it at the time. And then I know the pain of watching life stand still, or worse, send you on a spaghetti doodle course to nowhere.
I know what it is to look back. To live in the past because somehow, even though you couldn’t see it then, life was good. It was good and it was beautiful but you messed it up – and you desperately wish you could go back and live it all over again. I know the pain of seeing all your happiness behind you then look ahead to gloom and uncertainty and become stuck.
I know the pain of trying to unstuck yourself. And, my God, I don’t know if there’s a pain much worse than that.
I know what it is to want to be accepted into the “cool crew”, you know, the successful ones with all the spotlight. I know the pain of looking at your own lack of progress and feeling so frustrated you just want to go with them – wherever they are going.
I know what it is to want validation by association but then be shut out.
I know the pain of being shut out.
I know the pain of having to admit that “I am shut out and it is just not my time.” Again.
And then I know the pain of having to move on … Feeling shortchanged but moving on anyway only because you’re still alive and so you just kinda have to.
Time heals all wounds they say – and it does.
But you’ve got to confront them. You’ve got to feel the pain and feel the anger and feel the regret and resentment and not be afraid to get on your knees and scream:
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
He’s just waiting for you to admit that you’re angry and tired and you feel let down. You’ve got to tell him so he can fix it.
He already knows.
He’s waiting for you to come to the end of yourself so that finally he can show you a more excellent way and then you can be a witness to the power of His resurrection.
Sometimes faith is not beautiful. Sometimes faith doesn’t always look like a smile and a praise and a declaration of God’s goodness in the face of all of your trials. Good well meaning Christians would have you to believe that but it is not always so.
Sometimes faith is simply the will to still get down on your knees and cry knowing God hears you and that He sees your pain and your confusion.
Sometimes faith is knowing that even though you fell, looked at your own humanity and maybe even momentarily doubted, in His grace and mercy he will still come and you will still witness his glory.
My sister, I am you and we are each other – both battling the same demons. The only difference between you and I, is I get to hide behind my introversion while you hide behind your smile.
And so should our paths ever cross again, I’d like to tell you this and, perhaps, give you a hand to hold or a shoulder to lean on. Hopefully, then, I’ll be able to say forgive me… forgive me for my arrogance and my self righteousness.