Me. I weep for myself, for the me that was. Part of the grief process, I suppose. The stark contrast between my life now and the life I was living two years ago continues to jump out at me at occasionally and I end up in tears. The scars are all there…
All the times I wondered if I was beautiful,
All the times the man who was supposed to love and cherish me, to have and hold me, left me doubting that love existed or would ever exist for me,
All the times I laid alone at night wondering where he was,
All the times he neglected to return my embrace,
All the times I wanted nothing more than for him to hold my hand, to give it a squeeze, to reach out and caress me,
All the times we didn’t see eye-to-eye on important issues, like how to raise the children,
All the times we didn’t see eye-to-eye on unimportant issues,
All the times I just wanted to share something with him and for him to share with me,
All the times I just wanted to be near him, to share a moment, and he acted like I wasn’t there,
All the times we just didn’t connect, didn’t understand each other,
All the times I wasn’t worth fighting for…
I had a good cry with Denny a while ago, overwhelmed yet again by the realization that those pains really are behind me. I am no longer bound to an imaginary deity and Denny has brought healing to every other personal wound I can think of, just by being himself.
I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to take this life and this relationship for granted. So, I remember. And I cry for the Kaleesha of the past. I don’t waste my time with regret, wondering who I would be today or wishing things had been different, but I allow myself to grieve. It hurts me to think of anyone feeling the way I did so often. Are there worse things in life a person can suffer? Of course, but one pain does not diminish another. My pain was real. The same pain in another person at this moment is very real to them.
A few years ago I was receiving a monthly magazine for women based upon the fundamentalist patriarchal view of the Bible; women exist to serve men, to have lots of babies if possible, and they must deny and sacrifice themselves however necessary to make this happen. I enjoyed the magazine and, with a few exceptions, I found it encouraging. This morning, as I was crying for myself, an article from that magazine came to mind. It had stuck with me because over the years I had found myself shedding tears aplenty regarding the neglect listed above. The word picture in the magazine was of a woman crying. A stranger approached her and asked her not why was she crying, but for whom was she crying? The author proceeded to admonish us young women to lay aside self pity, not to waste tears on ourselves, and to trust God’s will for our lives.
I found the article and read it again this afternoon. The author made some good points about self-pity, I’ll admit. I won’t say we’re sinful for wallowing in self-pity (she doesn't either, but the implication is that it doesn't glorify God), and I think some things come out during our pitiful times that we really need to consider, but I certainly don’t think it’s a condition anyone should live in. The real problem lies in the author’s answer to the self-pity issue:
May God help us to change our questions to those that will help to bring us into growth, rather than leave us in the rut, or the pit of despair. God loves us too much to leave us where we are. He is not content with letting us stay the same. He wants to lead us on. He wants to change us into the likeness of Christ, from one degree of glory to another. If God did not allow difficulties to come to our lives, we’d stagnate instead of grow.
Let’s ask this question continually, “Lord, what are you saying to me? I am listening as I read your precious Word. I want to hear you speak into my heart. What are you telling me through these circumstances I am going through?’
Reach out to another human being. I can’t stress this enough. You do not have to go through anything alone, but you might remain alone if you don’t reach out. Talk. Share your pain. Let someone hold your hand. That’s real. That’s tangible.
The only thing that hurts me worse than the injuries is the knowledge that there are people out there right now being told to stop crying for themselves, that this is God’s will for their lives and to just accept it and ask him to give them strength to get through it. They are being told, “I will pray for you. God won’t give you anything you can’t handle.”
I used to pray for people. I’ve found my new response to the suffering of others infinitely superior. First, I hug them if I am able. I say, “Here’s my phone number; call me any time, day or night, if you’re feeling alone or scared or you want to talk or you just want a distraction. I’ll come over and be with you if you want and I am able. Let me know what your needs are and I’ll see what I can do. Maybe you need a pecan-topped brownie or some strawberry cheesecake.”
I’m not entirely joking about the food.
Anyway, we are real human beings with real pain and real needs. We need to be real for each other.
I’ve found the best cure for my own self-pity is to look toward others, not so much for sympathy as for perspective and distraction. Maybe I can be an ear for someone else, maybe I can ease their pain somehow. That’s the idea behind the question, “Who are you crying for?” But if the answer is, “Me,” don’t trip on it. You’re only human, after all.