Saturday, July 7, 2012

Again with the reality

warning: this ain't pretty.
So yesterday I got angry. Not just angry, but enraged, as in, given the opportunity, would have thrown someone down and beat them.  I guess I'm not supposed to admit that out loud am I?  In case it's not already obvious, the occasion had to do with one of my children.  Someone made cruel and heartless remarks about the special challenges that one of my children experience.  Momma Bear came out and she came out with no holds barred, all teeth sharpened, and the claws extended.

Thing is, the remarks didn't actually hurt my child. They hurt my feelings.  They cast aspersions on my mothering ability, they hit the deepest insecurities I have.

I've written about anger before and given the other side of the story, ie, that anger in itself isn't evil, rather it is a call to action.  My anger went beyond that.   There was the initial anger and then there was the seething, the feeling of helplessness for not being able to make the person(s) stand accountable for what they had said.  It bothered me the rest of the day. It kept me awake last night, wishing that I had a way to force the person to explain where they get off being so cruel  about a child who they've never met.

I lay there thinking of all the ways I could reply using cruel words myself in order to try and make them feel a fraction of my pain.  How could I hurt them so that they could understand how much they had hurt me?

And finally, in the recesses of my sleep deprived mind, I shut up long enough to allow the Lord to get a word in edgewise.  And suddenly there washed over a me a realization that I don't need to try and inflict pain on them to make them feel it.  The entire reason for their cruelty is likely that they have had pain inflicted upon them. Pain after pain, hatred after hatred poured out on them.  And just that fast, the anger was replaced with immense pity.
I know the amount of pain that I felt  and my desire to return it.  However, my desire to return it was focused solely on the offender.  How much more pain must they be feeling in order to want to inflict pain on anyone and everyone, deserving or not?  God let me glimpse for a moment how much a human soul can be crushed and broken to be so full of hurt that they spew out hurt indiscriminately.

There is so much hurt, so much brokenness, people's souls have been stomped so far down. And each time they spew out cruelty, it is returned with more cruelty, and before you know it, there is another person who isn't focusing their anger, they are just spraying it out like a water sprinkler.

There is of course a time and place for judgement and consequence, but in this situation, it was not my place to dispense either of these.  What ended up happening is that my rage stole an entire evening from me, I gave it place in my heart and mind and allowed it to rob me of rest.  Basically, I was very wrong.

Will I ever get to the place were my first reaction is pity and understanding?  I honestly don't know, but I do know that I have asked God to snap me back to my senses sooner next time; or perhaps I should say I've asked him to soften my heart so that I allow him to snap me back to my senses sooner next time.

And I don't want to lose that glimpse of the utter brokenness either.  I didn't like it, but my greatest desire is to see people through Jesus's eyes, and to grasp for a moment the unbearable pain  that must be fueling the cruelty, to feel the pity and compassion, to wish that instead of returning evil for evil that I could instead show them one drop of love, THAT is what I don't want to lose.

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