Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hurt People Hurt People

If I could Sharpie a permanent smile on my face, I think I might try it.

That wonder drug Botox might also do the same thing. This is something I might investigate.

My feelings get hurt pretty easily. They just do. I have always thought this was something that was wrong with me (and my mom used to tell me that there are two types of people no one wants to be friends with: the ones that complain all the time/dramatize everything/cry on your shoulder and the ones that get their feelings hurt easily and get mad all the time), so I try to shake it off even when something bothers me.

Even though reactions are different in different situations, the thing I try to do most often is act like nothing bothers me. Even when something clearly does bother me. And I resort to acting like a second grader because of it. (Not the way you should handle things, but the honest truth about how I handle things.)

I guess I'm afraid that person will get mad at me for being mad them. Or maybe they won't want to be my friend anymore. Or that I'll hurt their feelings even though they just hurt mine.

It's nonsense.

I also do not like confrontation and would rather slam my head into a brick wall several times than have to deal when a) someone is upset with me (which hardly EVER happens) or b) I am upset with someone.

The result is this: I don't tell anyone when I'm upset. I get upset when people are upset with me. Then I get spiteful and maybe a little resentful and possibly bitter and my heart hurts and I start becoming seriously unhinged. And even through the Becoming Unhinged process, I'd rather Sharpie a big fat smile on my face than say exactly what's on my mind.

Eventually the lines become blurred, and I don't know when to let something roll off my back and when to really be sad or mad, because I feel like a cactus. (With no flower.) And instead of enjoying every day of life for the pure joy of just living life, with a wide-open heart and a crazy love, living a wild adventure right here in my own backyard, I turn inward, embracing negativity and pessimism, drinking from the toxic cup o' gloom. Oh joyful day.

And I really, really want a wild, crazy love for life. Right here in my own backyard.

I have knockout rose bushes lining the front of my house, and in the spring and summer they are absolutely stunning. Roses galore. And for a while, I never even had to do anything. They just bloomed and bloomed and I thought this is the perfect maintenance-free plant! Until last summer, when two of my rose bushes didn't bloom as much, and they started dying back, and further research told me that I was supposed to be trimming them back every winter, right around February. So Monday of this week, which was a cloudy but mild 60-degree day, I decided to trim back my rose bushes. Ten minutes, tops, and then I'll play basketball with you, I promised my son. And when thirty minutes had come and gone and I was still chopping away, I realized that these bushes had been untended for too long. The stems were gnarly and hard to cut and the thorns were sharp and sticking me through my gloves, catching on my sweater, scratching my arms, and grabbing my hair as I lifted them over my head.

Really? What a pain. (My thumb still hurts from a particularly large and aggressive thorn.)

But hopefully when spring comes, those roses will come back in all their beautiful glory, and because I've carefully trimmed and tended them, they will be better than in years past.

I can fake a smile. It'll work, maybe even for a long time. But while I'm faking that smile, gnarly branches and thorns are growing and weaving their way in and around my heart, scratching and poking my heart. And because I don't like dealing with the thorns of anger and hurt feelings, they become wild and very, very prickly. Which makes me very, very prickly. Like a cactus, right? (With no pretty flower.)

Tending to one's heart is serious business. It can take a long time to get to the core of some issues, and even more work. Hard work. But I know I have a choice--I can stay walled off, polite but not friendly, angry, resentful, maybe even bitter and eventually lonely, or I can tend to what I know needs to be tended to. I'm sure I'll have some pokes and maybe even some bruises along the way, but if the end result is beauty growing and thriving, peace opening up my heart, grace inserting itself, and anger and tension melting away, then I think it's worth the extra effort.

Christ is in the Healing Hearts business. It's kinda like what He does. He is able to take a heart full of pain and hidden under a heavy blanket of insecurities and anger and unforgiveness and resentment and make it a feeling, healthy, beating heart. The kind of heart that responds with wisdom and discernment when feelings get hurt, the kind that doesn't hold onto past hurts, the kind that doesn't use a band-aide to smooth things over but heals from the inside out. The kind that doesn't use a Sharpie to fake a smile when the heart is hurting but heals the hurting heart.

My pastor says that hurt people hurt people.

Get it? Hurt people. They hurt people.

And I don't want to hurt people. I want to love people, and love them well. But there is a disconnect between loving people well and possessing a hurting heart.

So He will take his shears and he will prune my heart, and, yeah, it will probably hurt.

But you know what?  Spring is coming.

Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, 
it is not proud. 
It does not dishonor others, 
it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, 
it keeps no records of wrongs.
{1 corinthians 13:4-5}

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