I’ve been sitting here for nearly four hours drinking coffee, reading, playing with the insane Sgt. Pepper, who by the way had me scared he was gone forever yesterday-but that’s a post for another day, and just listening. Listening to the traffic growing and to the trees and their inhabitants. Earlier, I could hear people talking at Weigels across the highway. That early morning quiet of a Saturday. I never do this because I’m always in a hurry with nowhere to go…
With the increased noise of people getting their day going, I began thinking about my choices of late. I’ve got years of experience in making poor choices and all the wounds, real or imaginary, that go with them. Some barely ever come to mind but some I still look in the eye on a daily basis.
While I’m the only one who knows about many of my wounds, generally those based on what I thought someone thought of me (pretty conceited, right?), some of my choices have hurt others. These are the hardest to bare.
So I was thinking about a choice I made this week that put two of the most charished people in my life in an angry and uncomfortable mess. My mouth. Or rather, my head and then my mouth not giving a crap what my heart was saying about information it was receiving. I completely blocked out the memories of the same thing I did the summer before my son’s senior year in high school. The summer I mentioned in my last post… the summer I lost my mind a little.
You see, I’m a control freak. Yep, there it is. That summer of 2012, I not only opened my big mouth and told a group of people exactly what my aching heart (Read: my ‘lashing out at anyone and everyone so someone, anyone will feel this with me’ heart) was feeling because I was losing my son so, by God, we were gonna do it my way, but I also put it in writing. Writing that was shared with some of the people I saw as the problem. That’s when I really lost my son. He knew standing up to me was a risk he’d rather not take, so he just cut me off instead. He played my game but he didn’t stick around for the snacks and ‘atta boys after.
Compounding that pain was my fear of asking to be a part of his world because I didn’t know how to make it right. I missed senior pictures and a class ring because I was drinking it away. I paid him off through his birthday and Christmas. That’s also the year he told me he was an atheist. So we didn’t celebrate Christmas. Then he cut me out of the hardest thing he’s ever had to face in his life- the loss of Claire to cancer. And not only was I not there for him, but nobody was there for me and I wasn’t there for my friends when they lost their daughter. Crazy cycles of shame upon shame upon anger upon rage upon deep regrets upon….all of that. You know what I mean? Fear literally paralyzed me for two and a half years. I nearly felt like I had no soul left.
So back to the choices I’ve made. That summer and this week I made the choice to play Captain Obvious with information that wasn’t mine to share. And now my friends are mad. Mad at me for outing a truth that wasn’t mine to point out. Mad at each other for knowing about the situation but refusing to talk about it and now a technical outsider knows. Just mad… I think. Yes, I started out the day worried about how they feel about me.
The only difference is that this time, very quickly after I realized my mistake, I let God in on it. Now, I’m not someone who can pray those elaborate flowery prayers of thee’s and thou’s. I’m more of a “Holy crap, Lord, did You know I was like that?!” kind of prayer. God knows it’s taken 45 years for me to become me and He knows I’m getting better but He also welcomes me to come as I am. I refuse to think He’s a God who would refuse to listen to one of whom He calls His. Regardless, I’m praying. That’s growth by itself.
Next, I opened my devotional to see what promise I can carry into my day and, no joke, the first sentance literally says, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” I cracked up. I literally looked up and said out loud, “Really?! I didn’t sleep for two days because I’m stressing over my big mouth and Jesus Calling says don’t beat myself up?!” (Remember, I’m still sitting on the deck when I do this. Sarge looked at me like, “Really?” too.)
But see how He talks to us? In His perfect timing every single time! I still feel like making my mistake known by apologizing and I will do that today, so I didn’t take that as a Trophies for Everyone way of saying I’m off the hook. No way. That’s just not Biblical. But in His presence I know I’m human living a human experience and my goal is always to learn from my mistakes and to grow and to listen for His voice and lock it into my heart. I’m choosing more and more to lock the good stuff in my heart.
I heard on one of my favorite podcasts that God has three answers: Yes, No, and Grow. I made a mistake I will make amends for and I will work to remember we are all looking for the same thing in this world; the stuff that fills that God-shaped hole in each of us. I want to be a person that encourages people, not one that brings them down. Today I choose to accept this challenge to honor God’s response to my plea for guidance. Today I will choose to Grow.