I am struggling. I have taken too many shots to the heart over the last several weeks and I want to retreat. I am a sheepdog (to read the story of the sheepdog, click here), but even sheepdogs will slink off into a hidey hole to lick their wounds, growling at anyone that comes near them.
I am in love with a woman that does the same, and has done so with me.
I have friends that I care about and want to help, who do so, and have done so with me.
I want to do the same. And I want to disenfranchise all who approach, to get them to leave me alone, as I also endure the contradicting desire to be held, loved, and protected. Instead, I protect myself by pushing away.
I feel alone, lonely, and out of touch. I feel lost, confused, and am struggling with being angry at a spirit that tells me spiritually what contradicts with me experientially.
I am struggling with wanting to write. I am struggling with wanting to talk. I am struggling with wanting to go to church where people wear their fake masks of “everything is OK, what can I do for you?” as I know, instinctively, that they are cowering in whimpering fear and hurt like I am.
I don’t hide my hurt, my struggle, my pain like I used to. To do so would be back tracking into the hard and bitter person I was. Like any plant, we can’t grow by hiding ourselves in shadows. Somehow, some where, we are taught, trained, or given examples that while we ask others to open up about their pain, we are comfortable being hypocrites and hiding our own.
I don’t like being a hypocrite, so I wouldn’t ask others to open up as I refuse to open up myself.
However, I was instructed once, in the temple by the Spirit, that I have to; I am required to serve my Father by being open, vulnerable, about my suffering, my pain, and my feelings of despair. Of course, it is a choice, as all things are, but if I truly want to serve the Lord, I serve him by going against my nature, the very fiber of who I am, or who I have been trained to be, so that others may know that they are not suffering alone – that the terms “brother”
and “sister” are not just niceties, but are absolute truths, as we are brothers and sisters in a world designed for our suffering and anguish.
Life is suffering. Life is hardship. We live on a world with the most evil and vile of God’s creations. We are here specifically because He knows we can handle it. We chose to be here, the ultimate of His challenges.
But we have also been promised that “men are that they might have joy.” The “might” isn’t conditioned on Him deciding we will or will not have it. No, the “might” is a condition of our willingness to believe He wants it for us, and allowing it in our lives. We have to choose to believe, then choose to hope for it, then choose to accept it when it is given to us. It is all a choice. That was His plan from the beginning.
How do we know joy? By suffering. How do we recognize love? By being rejected and hurt. How do we know how to be friends? By being hurt by those we thought were friends. How do we know how to serve? By being willing to be served. How do we know who to serve? By being examples to those that need to learn how to allow others to serve.
And that is why we are to be open about our suffering. That is why we are to allow those to insult our privacy by allowing others to care enough to pierce our bubble of suffering. To allow the hand extended despite our growling for us to feel the loving touch of someone that genuinely cares and is willing to risk the bite out of pure love of us.
I open up and I hate it. But for people to have an opportunity to receive the blessings of service, or be held accountable for not, there must be someone to serve. My life has been a constant opportunity for others, and I have made an effort to serve those, even when they growl and bite.
I get bitten a lot. Sometimes right in the heart. But I will suffer the pain of rejection and the sting of anger, because I serve my Lord through serving my fellow man. However, I am also serving my Lord by allowing others to serve me. For others to serve me, I must allow them to do so, I must expose my heart, my suffering, and my embarrassment. To do this requires the ultimate hardship that He has asked of us.
To sacrifice our pride.
To be humble.
It is pride that forces us to crawl into a hole to hide. It is pride that makes us angry at those who show love and concern by trying to serve and show kindness.
It is pride that says “I can heal on my own.” Yet, how many times, as you, and I have done, wept before the Lord asking for help, asking for peace, asking for an end to our suffering, only to reject those that He has sent to help us. Rejecting the kindness of others, the good intentions of those that love us, avoiding or hiding from the prying questions.
I do often, ask for the Lord’s intercession and reject people, and I am struggling to not do so now.
I battle my pride daily. I want to bury my hurt. I want to be angry at others and make others feel my pain by inflicting my anger on others who I perceive to be infringing on my space.
Brothers and sisters: I am lost, I hurt, I am suffering. I am lonely. I am telling you this because I am not alone. I am telling you this because, most likely, you are also. Serve the Lord by seeking those that have grown quiet. Seek those that wear a big smile at church but have no contact with others outside of it.
If you want to help me, help yourself by telling others your pain and allowing others in. This is my missive to the world: crawl from your shadows and allow others to love you. Yes, it is terrifying, and you may be hurt still, but in serving others, and allowing others to serve you, you increase the power of God’s love in all of our lives, including yours.