Monday, June 1, 2015

bruised

I was shaving my legs this morning when I shaved over a bruise. I am not a gentle shaver. I am a get-it-done-quickly shaver. I don't know what the joyful shavers and bathers in the razor and soap commercials do for a living, but it must not have anything to do with real life. (Maybe that's where my joie de vivre is--joyful shaving! All this time it's been right under my nose and I've missed it!) Anyways, I hit that bruise and it was like oooowwwiiiieeeeeeeeeeee, but I when looked down at my leg I didn't actually see anything. It's like some sort of invisible bruise that hurts but that you can't see. And the weirdest part is that I have no idea how that bruise even got there, and you'd think for something that hurts that bad, I'd remember actually doing something.

Remembering is just asking a lot of a person, honestly. I mean like remembering anything.

Over the weekend, my best friend and I got into an argument. Sometimes we are the hardest on those we love the most, which seems backwards and lazy but it is the truth.

We are not gentle with each other when we argue. Sometimes we come at each other with both barrels locked and loaded, intentionally trying to bring the other person down. And sometimes the words we hurl at each other are careless at best and intentionally hurtful at worst, and those words can suddenly touch an inner bruise that we may not have even known we had, and it hurts. A lot.

I've been very intentional about looking at my inner bruises--those things that have caused hurt in the past--because I want to make my relationships stronger and my life happier and healthier. (Don't we all know by now that anger and sad feelings don't do anything but get worse over time and bring us down?) But sometimes I have a bruise that's just under the surface--present, but not seen, still hurting, but not enough to make a difference until it gets walloped. And when that happens, I react accordingly. Usually that means I hit back. Just enough to rile up the other person. And then I retreat into an unhappy, bruised-up self, pulling back any part of me that was vulnerable, surrounding that bruise and protecting it so it won't get hit again.

Aren't we are all bruised-up people, in some form or fashion? If you're a man and you have been taught to be tough and play football and crush the competition, to be prideful of your strength and the leader of your family, well, here's a news flash for you: you still have feelings and they still count and you may not want to recognize them or talk about them, but don't go one more minute of your life thinking you can ignore your bruises. It'll eat you up. And if you are a girl like me and you have been taught to manipulate and use your emotions as tools to get what you want, to cry at the drop of a hat or to be bitchy and mean and gossipy and backstabbing and totally rude, well, here's a news flash for you: you still have feelings and they still count and you may not want to recognize them or talk about them, but do not go one more minute of your life thinking you can ignore your bruises. It will eat. You. Up. Whether your anger and frustration turns to bitterness and resentment, and you spend your life fighting depression and anxiety or beating the crap out of somebody else or yourself or drinking or eating or screaming and yelling or retreating into yourself, your bruises will make themselves known one way or another.

The world is a strange place, all these billions of people constantly fighting with each other all the time. Someone asked last night if we thought there were "fillers" on earth--you know, like seat fillers at the Grammys--which I thought was a funny and serious question at the same time. Because if the answer is yes, then that means some of us on earth have absolutely no purpose. But if the answer is no, which is what I personally believe because every person has a soul, then that means that every single one of us--every one--has a purpose and a plan, and that also means that we sometimes let our bruised-up selves get in the way of our purpose and our plan, leaving us with one messed-up existence. Like a hamster spinning on it's little wheel inside it's little cage, thinking that's all there is to life because that's all it can see.

I don't know how to tell you specifically to take care of your bruises, but I can give you a start: go to a church and meet with the pastor. Most churches offer wonderful programs like Celebrate Recovery (which I've heard awesome things about), and any pastor worth his salt will sit down and hear you out when you are in trouble. I heard someone say one time that just when you think you aren't in trouble is when you find yourself standing in the deepest of waters. We could all use some wise counsel.

I, by the way, am a terrible maker-upper. I do not wish to make up with anybody after they have hurt my feelings, but those are just old bruises talking. Luckily my husband knows this about me, and while it probably hurts his feelings, he's willing to hug a stiff body and kiss a turned-away cheek and whisper "I'm sorry" in an ear that is not willing to hear it.

Physical bruises hurt and then they go away. Emotional bruises hurt and hurt and that hurt creates a ripple effect that affects loved ones and liked ones. No one benefits and everyone loses when we don't take care of our hearts and souls.

I no longer want to be robbed of happiness and joy because I keep allowing my bruises to be pressed. And retreating into self doesn't help them heal, it only protects them from getting pressed so hard, but in the process, it also protects all emotions from being felt, even the good ones. When the bruise is healed, there is no longer anything left to press and hurt, and happiness and peace can be welcomed as permanent residents in our souls.

[Jesus] welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, 
and healed those who needed healing.
{luke 9:11}

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