So Judge Me #7: I Am So Tired… Of Grace

grace

When your marriage ends some people in your life will take sides. Judgement will happen. And, at a time when you are already in extreme crisis, some of the people you thought would be most constant and true for you, sometimes without even waiting to sit with you and hear your pain, will turn their backs on you. When my marriage ended I experienced this from an older Christian person I once had tremendous respect for and who I saw socially over many years. I attended a small gathering in an intimate venue and this person would NOT acknowledge my presence, that whole day, with a smile or a nod or even a glance. Wow!

Before I go any further I also have to share that there were and are many people in my life who did not judge me and who were extremely supportive since that said time. I thank you all for your grace.

But it brings me back to the whole issue of grace. And how tiring grace can be. How are we to treat the people in our lives who hurt us? I know my first reaction to being hurt is pain, and it takes a long time for that pain to become ‘righteous’ indignation and anger. But when I am angry… Oh man! I construct a brain-full of bitingly clever and condemning things I would say to the person who caused my hurt (if I only had the opportunity) and I can dwell in that place of unforgiveness and angry self righteousness for days. Yep. Days. You would think this was the tiring part, not the grace. But the problem is, once the anger has run its course, the next stage for me is always the asking of the same question, “So what can be done to make me okay again?” And the answer is always – grace.

Now don’t go thinking I am some kind of saint or something because, in a weird kind of way, it is in the extending of grace and forgiveness that I become free. The issue or conflict stops being my problem and, at the point of my forgiveness, all responsibility for the matter is hand-balled to my opponent. On the surface it makes grace and forgiveness sound even kind of selfish.

But, equally, please don’t go thinking I am entirely selfish. Because grace and forgiveness are a constant thing. Just because I decide to forgive one day, doesn’t mean the hurtful act, or words, or lack of action, will not hurt me again tomorrow or sometime in the future, creating the need to forgive the same hurt again. And again.

I thought I would mix it up recently. I am so tired of grace. I found myself in a situation with a person, where the thought of extending grace (where favour was really not deserved) felt like a total waste of time and energy. So I thought I would just cut from the person completely. I knew I had to share it with a mutual friend so I told the mutual friend of my decision. He listened. Then he said, “You know what? That doesn’t sound like the woman whose heart I know. The woman I know would extend grace. You need to extend grace.”

And I know he is right. And I know this response will always be right. I know grace is where real healing can begin, even if complete restoration never happens. Even if trust and respect have been compromised forever. But I am so tired… Of grace.

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So Judge Me #5: Why do I Blog?

This month has been quite, quite strange, yeah? First, my computer, who we shall call Best Friend, died. Messages about a fatal hard disk issue had popped up for some time and, luckily, I heeded the warnings and copied all my photos and documents before Best Friend passed away.

It is also a month leading up to anniversaries. Around this time last year, we had two of our clients tragically die. Both were bigger than life personalities, who we would see every single day and who considered our drop in center home. I think because they passed so quickly to each other – within three weeks – I have had a lot of trouble processing the grief. I still see them everywhere, reflected in strangers. Or the memory of them in the places they always frequented. I hadn’t factored on the high risk of people dying when I started working at the center, but of course it was always possibly going to happen. The women we work with often get assaulted and live shunned and unprotected, on the edge of society. They are extremely vulnerable.

Then I got a little sick. I contracted Pityriasis Rosea. It was itchy but not dangerous or highly contagious.

But then, a friend asked me, “Why do you blog?” and, for the life of me, I couldn’t come up with an answer. Is it some strange need to be heard? Do I believe I have ideas or experiences the world needs to share? Is it merely journalling? If so, why journal publicly and not share my most intimate experiences or beliefs? It began to do my head in and I am not sure I have worked it out. But, I think blogging has something to do with having a creative outlet. Hmmm. Not sure! Please let me know why we blog, fellow bloggers.

Anyway, I find I can’t stop. I love to blog and will probably continue until I have nothing more to say.

Blessings and peace.

I Am Loving Derek

I have been an enthusiastic watcher of anything Karl Pilkington but I never knew he could act. Although, to be fair, he is exactly the same in this production than in anything else I’ve watched him in – it is just that this is drama. If you have 24 minutes please, please, pretty please watch the pilot to DEREK, written, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais. It is a very funny concept but has gentle, poignant themes, which I have never experienced through comedy before. You may not know me but trust blindly. You will love Derek. Intelligent, ridiculous and tragic. Ricky Gervais? More please.