What do you do when someone refuses to acknowledge your pain?
I am told to walk away from anything that no longer serves me. Because it is certain that a person who is focused on themselves cannot be concerned with what I need. In the past I have been known to compromise my self worth in order to protect another person’s sensitivities. Lying through brittle teeth and losing the ability to face reality. It is easy to fall into routine and drag yourself forward because your heart is afraid of change. We blame others for our foggy vision when we are the only ones responsible for our productiveness everyday. Every single morning I wake up by God’s grace and set my feet on the ground. I get out of the comfort of my bed in total darkness because when I rise, the sun is not yet awake. I push my disappointment and frustration to the back of my mind and sacrifice sulking in my grief because I know there is another human being counting on me. I can be wrecked and broken on the inside, but this does not absolve me of my responsibilities.
It is not about me. It is not about my issues or the fact that I allowed myself to hope for forgiveness and grace. It is not about how no one seems to acknowledge my pain. I am met with silence and blank expressions when it takes two to make the same mistakes. We wander in circles because there are two heads in the wrong place. It should have been easy to commit to the cause and stay on mission in pursuit of the things we want.
But excuses are the only thing consistent when you are running.
Nothing about fighting for a purpose is easy, especially when you have a long and difficult history with someone. We want everything handed to us without putting in the work. We push away the ugly parts of people and retreat when things do not go right. Forgetting that we too have parts that we try to hide from the light. We believe we can choose differently even though our soul is in agony. Fighting against other people’s opinions and ideas about what we should do and who we should be.
I ask questions when the answers are clear–blaring at me in a neon yellow display.
It takes two to work together, but only one to walk away.
Too many steps forward and you will be forced to leap back to the beginning. In every instance of regression we feel slighted as if we did not have a say in whether or not we went all the way. It is fair to be weary. To have a heart weighed down by an irrepressible pain.
But the art of forgiveness requires us to change.
I have no stock in another person’s recovery steps. They can be silent and broken, refusing to ask for help. They can be recklessly happy and move forward with grace.
But the art of forgiveness means we do not stay the same.
Each time we “get back up” a piece falls off from our resiliency. After awhile, there is no more hopefulness. No more faith. No more peace. I have written bitter endings into my narrative so much so that now I do not know how to get rid of the ache.
But the art of forgiveness means we put old things away.
The dream died. If we are being honest it never had a chance to survive. You put two people in a story who both believe they are right and it is only a matter of time before they end up on different sides. Fighting for a future that neither can fully provide.
But the art of forgiveness means you move forward with the rest of your life.
Knots twist and overlap in my stomach, pushing me to confront the truth. I cannot ignore the reality that damaged interactions lead to disappointment and devastation. But despair is a choice. The longer we hold onto pain, the deeper we fall into despair. The more we resist reconciliation and forgiveness, the further recovery becomes.
I gave up on God once. I was in a terrible situation that I contributed to–and I could not see myself clearly. I rejected God’s help. I relied on the power I thought I had and began to forfeit my purpose and destiny. I knew God was calling out to me. But I could not hear him over my own hurt feelings. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted the pain to fully end. But God wanted something different.
Now, when faced with the same disappointment, I actively resolve to seek God’s face. He alone knows the desires of my heart and just how hard I have worked to be a better version than the person I used to be. The truth however, is that I am not perfect. I make mistakes and cause others grief because I am still in the process of healing. This is no easy task–but the one who has forgiven me knows that I am still hunted by my past.
History sits in our subconscious and refuses to let us go. It wants us to remember that we have failed so many times before. It wants us to think that we will always be hurting. But the truth is the more I seek God, the more I believe that He alone is the one who holds onto me. He alone is my hope and the only person I need to please.
And I will not let go of Him again.
I love you, beyond reason. And most of the time, without doubt.
But sometimes, my brokenness slips past the cracks of my control.
Rising up from the basement–where I’ve kept its influence at bay.
Until it finds a way into my mouth. And forces me to lash out.
I have learned to live with its existence. To give grief and pain a place.
Because no matter how much you love someone, there will be times
that you push them away.
I retreat. To my corner, to my bedroom, to a horizontal position on the couch.
Sinking deeper into the cushions. Getting comfortable in the gloom and the clouds.
Will you find me beneath the dark waters? Swim harder if you know I will drown?
Or will the murky surroundings conceal your vision?
And keep us both from climbing back out.
Last night I dreamed that I was getting married and nothing felt right. I was wearing the wrong dress and the wrong shoes–I did not recognize the people around me. My father, instead of standing with me behind the scenes–was in the crowd and took his time getting to his place. The pastor even called the wedding a funeral.
But worst of all: I was marrying the wrong guy.
I knew him, but we were friends a long time ago in high school. I have no idea how he appeared in my dreams–but it was obvious that we were not in sync. We missed each other’s cues and I kept looking around expecting someone else to show up instead.
In short, I knew he was not the one for me.
Today, I feel the weight of my actions and wonder if I can reconcile them to my beliefs. I feel like a victim who does not know they have been harmed. It is as if I am a prisoner who does not see the open, waiting door. It should be easy to move when you live for excuses, but I have taken intentional steps away from the disease of harmful decisions and repetitious cycles of apathy.
I thought I was past “triggering out” and using my previous abuse as an excuse to wield unforgiveness as if I have never done anything wrong. When I personally make mistakes, I want understanding–I need the person I hurt to see the pain behind my mask of pride. But sometimes, we have to be broken beyond what we think we can take.
It is only after we are shattered that we are open to being saved.
In my weakness, I can admit my truth. I can tell you that I have issues. I have mommy issues and daddy issues and issues with authority. I have issues with accepting people who say that they love me. I have a hard time believing sorry when the behavior does not change. I have a hard time reconciling with people who chose to walk away.
My dream reminded me that I am not perfect. It reminded me that I can want something so badly, that I am blinded to the danger staring me in the face.
I pray my reality does not reflect the same mistake.
I wonder what happens to beautiful souls who lose their courage to the bitter realities of life. A part of me knows decisions are made that subtract from happiness and cause undesirable consequences–but another part of me cannot begin to analyze the cost. Instead, I look out of my window at clouds that promise oncoming cold and heavy, relentless rain. Because even nature releases its burden before it starts all over again.
The cycle of life reminds us of how precious time is while we attempt to live out our plans and work towards individual designs. We are planners and organizers. Dreamers who spend hours thinking of ways to get the very best of everything. Yet sometimes, we intentionally procrastinate against the necessary hard work required of us. Turning our backs on the truth of who we are.
There are times of testing that give way to amazing moments that we could have never achieved without grace. In these difficult moments we forget what is important and get defensive when our ideal is lost. When I personally measured my commitment to others I found I could have done more when my friends were hurting. Instead, I chose to bury my head in the sand and act as if nothing was happening. I ignored those public posts and dismissed their agonizing cries for attention–assuming that a person who needed help would just come out and ask for it. But it is difficult to anticipate help when you are ashamed of your actions.
For the better part of a year I ran from every single one of my callings. I dug in deep with isolation and spent quality time in my own self-imposed rejection. At the time, I felt wounded by so many things that I became accustomed to and accepting of pain. It became a daily habit for me to wake up and go through the day like a zombie–oblivious to the hurt I was feeling. Eventually, that hurt became a part of the way I communicated. I lashed out and broke confidence with people who wanted more for and from me. Now, I realize I could do nothing for them unless I wanted more for myself.
Now that I want more I need to take consistent steps in the right direction. It means I cannot run from difficult conversations or fill silence with resentment and apathy. My calling requires me to be active in the pursuit of my emotional, physical and mental health. When I am wrong, I must admit it and walk down the path towards reconciliation and forgiveness. Likewise, if someone hurts me (accidentally or not) it is up to me to be honest about my feelings.
What they choose to do with my truth is NOT my responsibility.
Brace for impact.
The older I get, the more I understand–the less I care to remember. People are often tied to their grievances. They replay in their minds what another person did or said that hurt them, sometimes indefinitely. Carrying pain in their memory. Looking for an opportunity to remind you of your character flaws. Not realizing they are really just exposing their chains. Remembering bad things keeps you bound to that experience. Instead, I would rather choose to walk in love–knowing that forgiveness requires much more than words.
We say we forgive, but really we have just absorbed the pain. I read once that emotional pain lasts for only 12 minutes. Anything longer than that is thought to be self inflicted. While I do not fully think pain can be healed in this time frame, I believe that person was saying there is an end to the heartbreak. Prolonged “suffering” eventually leads to indifference. Once apathy sets in, everything begins to change. When you focus on the hurt and refuse to put it in its place, you are really saying you do not want to be okay. Therefore, becoming numb is a choice.
I do not wish to hurt or wound anyone. I am weak and need to be constantly admonished for my insensitivity. Here, is where I require the most grace–when I repeatedly do things I know are not right to do. I come broken down and humbled, with a repentant spirit–knowing I am made captive by the object I have grieved. I am willing to do almost anything, but a person who will not forgive is like arsenic to the bones. I sit in my cell and I wait to be released.
Every day that passes without restoration leads us further into a party of passivity. Cold shoulders develop and now the question is, who can care less? I refuse to play in the symphony of the lost. I know who I am and I am called to be free. The music in my heart begs for peace and unity.
Division is a tool used by our adversary who, does not want us to succeed. Honestly, are we going to allow him to speak for us?
I will not let him speak for me.
But I am still the captive.
You hold the key.