don’t ask me why i’m writing this tonight. it’s just on my heart.
looking back over my life’s journey, i have been hurt…really hurt…the kind of hurt that left me emotionally crippled and so overwhelmed with heart pain that, at the time, i could barely breathe. it’s only happened a few times, but those moments are burned in my memory.
the words that people used about me…a few to my face, but most done behind my back…were so judgmental, so heartbreaking, so untrue that when i think back about them, i can still relive the pain as if it were happening right now. wow.
if you corner me on a good day and ask me to tell you about some of those experiences, i will probably give you a few highlights…but what really want to pass on to you is what i’ve learned.
i don’t waste much time on small pain. you won’t find me wasting much time getting my feelings hurt or frustrated by not getting my own way. i’ve definitely learned a lot about picking my emotional battles.
i ache for people who are controlled by their own emotions…who let life’s disappointments dictate their responses. i’ve come out of the pains and hurts in my life with a real determination to be flexible and extend as much grace as i possibly can…especially to people who are younger and less experienced than i am.
there is an unbelievable freedom in being able to live my life without having to have things go my way…or always needing to state my opinion…or having to constantly correct the sins and mistakes of others.
wanda and i joked with each other last night…we really don’t understand why there are some people who don’t like us. all in all, we think we’re pretty ok people.we never raise our voices at anybody. we don’t get mad at people. really. we don’t. we don’t hold grudges. neither one of us has a desire to waste even a moment in unresolved conflict with anybody. we’ve learned to forgive. yet there are people who have written us off…without ever talking to us or sharing their feelings or giving us the opportunity to explain what we might have done wrong.
i can only conclude that there must have been things that i (we) have done that have caused people hurt or frustration. we’re not perfect. we’re human. but we’re not bad people. i’ve been with wanda for almost 40 years. she is one of the most decent, genuinely nice and thoughtful people I have ever met. there is not a mean bone in her body. her relationship with christ is honest and sincere and gracious. yet there are people who have assumed bad about her…without ever talking with her.
that’s a lot of needless pain and bitterness and judgment to be carrying around, if you ask me!
we work overtime to understand where people are coming from. we take seriously god’s teaching to never let the sun go down on our anger. differences of opinion are simply that…opinions. what you think and feel is just as valuable as what i think and feel.
if you say something that is calloused or insensitive or thoughtless or judgmental or uninformed or rude or distressing or embarrassing or awkward…or simply wrong…the only christlike reaction…the only acceptable response is to give grace and space and time and understanding and the open door to continued dialogue.
why am I writing this tonight? catharsis? maybe. it’s always good for me to write when i’m feeling deeply. but that’s not why i’m writing.
i guess i just wanted to pass on one of life’s greatest lessons…a lesson that i have learned through real pain and real disappoint: don’t waste your time over-reacting to the small stuff. forgive people the way god has forgiven you. live at peace with everybody. i mean everybody. be flexible, gracious, content and kind. give room for people to make mistakes. take the high road. don’t be a martyr. be the initiator of love.
okay…so that was a little more than one lesson…
i think i’ll sleep well tonight.