quiet by nature
Throughout my life, I have been acquainted and on a first name basis with pain, hurt and guilt. I’ve been so transparent with it that it has caused others to stop share. I know this also has much to do with the fact that I’m quiet. I will listen. I find that when you give people an ear, that want to let it out. I am grateful for every plan and mission that has been accomplished in my life. I am equally grateful that Gods plan for us is one of good, not a life full of dependencies, shame and pain. We are people and we all tend to come with unnecessary baggage… baggage of our past, our current problems and sometimes what could be. With all these bags lying around we tend to allow ourselves to get tripped up, caught up and in situations. It is not until we master the art of letting go that we begin to leave those bags behind and look forward to hope. It is a choice that has to made everyday and that choice is not based on the way feel, the weather or even the distractions that are going on around us. The choice has to be made in spite of every obstacle or we will open our eyes one day and find that are stuck. Our train or plane has left us behind. I have talked to hundreds of people who have slept, drank, ate, or suppressed their live in one way or another that when they finally came to themselves; when they finally woke up to live life, they realized that they had missed the majority of it. You would think that they would be grateful that they missed some of the hard parts, but in reality, I’m told that they still had to wade through the hard stuff and what they truly missed was living, giving, enjoying those around them, celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, special times, etc. all because they wanted to stuff down the hardships. They found that they would have been better off living; especially after realizing all the good things in life that they chose to isolate from. While it seems hard to always choose the high road, to be the bigger one, to say “I apologize” first, to make amends, to be the first to reconcile so that the sun wont set on your anger or problems, it cannot be as hard as holding on it and allowing it to turn from a little thing to a big thing. It can’t be as hard as allowing a circumstance that could have been remedied with an “I am sorry” (even if it wasn’t your fault) to end up in bitterness, loss friendship or loved one, a divorce or even an open reprimand over what we have done and what someone else has done to us. It is always better to release our hold make a decision to forgive ourselves and others. Holding on to the past or whatever it is only allows the hurt to continue. And more times than not, if there is another person involved, you may find that they don’t even remember it… and that hurts all the more to find out that you went through years and years of holding on to something, waiting for an apology or recompense for something that no one remembers but you. You feel even more foolish and ashamed and it is just not worth it. One of my co-workers died this year, suddenly and she left behind young adults who were not quite ready to fend for themselves in this world, alone. Her children were eighteen and twenty-three. At the hospital while she was on life support, I watched one of her children trying to do everything, trying to keep busy, trying to handle it all, and trying to be the stronger. It was as if she couldn’t do enough. When she left the room for a short time, one of the extended family members mentioned that she had argued with her mother the day before her mothers heart attack. You could tell that the extended family member wanted to blame her and was indeed blaming her. I remember, speaking to that family member, not wanting to step on toes… I was an outsider and when you get involved with family drama, it can turn out to be more than you bargained for. But no matter, I told the lady, who was an aunt, that I argued with my mom sometimes. The daughter enters back into the room but I continued. I told her about the last time that I visited my mother and how we were driving to the mall. I was driving 53 mph in a 50 mph zone. And my mom began giving me a driver’s education course and telling me the do’s and don’ts of driving. I proceeded to tell my mom that I have been driving over 30+ year’s blah blah blah and would appreciate it if she would allow herself to be a passenger and enjoy the ride. In other words, be quiet… but I couldn’t say that to mom. And we had a falling out over driving and how to do it properly and the fact that one is never to old to learn or get a spanking. But I love my mom and tell her often. And the deal is that we don’t agree on all things, but I learn from everyone. I get ideas from her even when I don’t follow her examples fully. Disagreements don’t mean that the love isn’t there. By the time my mom and I got to the mall we were onto bigger and better things, enjoying our day. We chose not to hold on to it. I drove 53 mph all the way back to my moms house after we finished our day of fun (more out of spite than anything). She gave me “the look” and a warning of a spanking and we turned up the music and sang and laughed all the way home. Had either my mom or myself left this life after our driving argument, we would have hated the fact that we ended on that argument but we would have known that we love each other everyday, we give to each other everyday, we speak everyday and we try always to let the sun rise and set with peace in our hearts for each other. We have had a strained relationship in the past, especially coming out of the teen years but God has helped us walk in restoration – and as we do – He has helped us to, daily, find the willingness to forgive and free any holds on and in our lives. We release the guilt and habit of beating ourselves up over failures and should have, would have could have. He meets us where we are and shows us how to love ourselves where we are everyday and we do the same to and for each other. God knows everything that we have every done or could ever experience – He is the perfect one and has decided to forgive us and so we push forward to try to do the same. The argument that this young adult had with her mom didn’t cause her mother’s death, but because the sun went down before one or the other made peace, it made the time of death even more sorrowful. It caused her busyness. By the time I left the hospital, we each had shared more than a few stories of getting into it with mothers and loved ones. The aunt, who was originally ready to cast the first stone had more story than each of us. I believe there was a better understanding that it was just her time and God called her number.
In reviewing the life of the Apostle Paul (a former terrorist, mass murderer) we know that he had regrets. Phil 3:13 tells us “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” We can choose to neglect those things that have tried to block us, that we have tried to hide, stuff down or hold onto, or we can once and for all deal with them by laying them down, by speaking them out in the open and asking forgiveness, through repentance. Erika Badu’s song “Bag Lady” that came out in 2000 says it perfectly… and the song is not necessarily talking to women:
Bag lady you gonna hurt your back, draggin all them bags like that. I guess no one ever told you how you must hold on on to issues, issues, issues. Bag lady you gonna miss your bus. You can’t hurry up cause you got too much stuff. When they see you coming, people take off running, from you, it’s true, yes they do
So where’s my garbage bag lady, Let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go. And the grocery bag lady, I bet you love could make it better. I’m talking to my Gucci bag ladies, let it go, let it go, let it go , let it g. And what about the paper sack ladies; I bet love can make it better. What about the nickel bag ladies, let it go, let it go, let it go , let it go. Light pack when you pack your bags ladies, Bet ya love could make it better.
Daily I am learning just how critical it is for us to choose to forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Choose to lean on the understanding God and receive His discernment in every area of your lives. Choose to make penitence and release all else so that your walk is in freedom and healing.