I want to write about loving each other, through this tender season when we are all so vulnerable. However, I find I can’t seem to summons that much-needed love in my own heart right now. Oh of course, I can graciously embrace the less fortunate, the ill, the homeless, the elderly, the lonely, the grieving, the children, and those who in return embrace me. It is not challenging for me to love deeply, as it seems I was born with a big heart, for better or worse.
Most of the time I don’t get angry. I tend to be the sort of person who bypasses anger, going directly to sadness and hurt. Some days, I wish I could get a bit more fired up, speak my mind, and access an inner “Tawanda”, (remember her from “Fried Green Tomatoes”?). Generally speaking, I’m a “choose the high road” kinda girl. So, it’s a bit odd that I find myself in this predicament.
My mentor has a sign in her office that reads, “be kind, everyone is fighting a battle”. I believe that’s true, because I am fighting a battle. My temptation is to judge,condemn, tweet, and text. The words, “restraint of pen and tongue” pop into my head.
Sitting here, I found myself screaming internally, ‘family should not abandon each other, especially not at this time of year. How dare this…. and that….’. Pausing, I realized in my judgement, I was doing the very thing that angered me. I felt the fire searing from my eyes, as I listened to the voice on the other end of the phone recanting the story of a coach not helping a child. I was appalled by the gall of adults refusing to speak to other adults, as though they were a bunch of childish adolescents. My list was lengthening. My rights were increasing by the moment.
The words of Paul, the apostle, slipped in. When referring to those who had harmed, judged, sinned, lied, cheated, stolen, hated, committed crimes, adultery, and so forth and so on, he humbly included himself in the list, saying, “I am chief among these”. Expressing that if grace were available for him, the “chief” sinner, how could it not also be available for anyone else.
It is grace I desperately need. It is mercy I beg to be shown. It is God’s forgiveness, I am forever most grateful for. So, why would I not extend to another the very thing I so desperately need for myself ?
Because, we utter, ‘I am right. They are wrong.’ Is that true? Can we be absolutely sure “they” are wrong? Or might it be more true to say, “they are doing the best they can with the information they have at this moment”? Supposing they are intentional in their manipulation or selfishness, might it be true that their own woundedness, their own sorrow, their own inner ache, brought them to this place?
Furthermore, if I am honest, if I look deeply, can I not see apart of my own humanness in them. Don’t we all have mixed emotions?
I’m asking myself these questions:
Would I want to be judged the way that I judge someone else ?
Do I have to be right?
Must I take myself so seriously?
And as my mentor taught me, “is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?”
Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s be quick to forgive. Let’s love bigger, better, stronger, and more deeply because we can. Let’s choose something higher, so that something higher will come.
—- Tyler Hayes
—- sending you love wherever you are in the world.