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7.22.2014

STICKS AND STONES CAN BREAK MY BONES, BUT I'M HEAR TO TELL YOU, WORDS CAN CRUSH


There are people, who, when walking past a reflective window or a mirror in public, have to look at themselves.  I would imagine Howard Stern is one of those people.    There are also people who need to look at a reflective inward mirror occasionally but never seem to.  Both people are irritating.  The latter though, is hurtful usually to others not just an entertaining vain show of humanity.

I, like you I'm sure, have things I don't like - things that end that make me wistful for more even as they are disappearing.  Things like; wanting the container of blueberries I picked recently to last longer as I eat the last handful of big plump blueberries, wanting the Arizona blue sky and constant temps back, wanting to find more time for the things that make me operate fully as Nancy, wanting certain losses back, wanting another mint sangria on the patio of Abreo's, wanting to relive December 28, 2010, wanting to turn back the hands of outward aging or wishing that honeysuckle bloomed year around in the Midwest.

There are though, things that I am not wistful for more of when they end.  In fact, I don't want them back, don't want to experience them and wish their presence would leave my life.   There are people and things that sometimes want to re-visit long after their welcome is over.  I got a visit from one such person recently.

There is both a blessing and curse to instanteous communication in the non-verbal tech ways in which we all operate in.  Grateful I am for the ability to see pictures of those I love who live far away, get a line of love from them, connect to people from my younger years, communicate information without a phone call or a physical visit at times.  Disturbed though I am greatly at the ease and callousness that form can create in our approach to communication.

Writing a text or an email with emotional content is just dangerous.  There is just too much room for interpretation of emotion in written words, especially if they are negative.  We lack hearing tones, seeing facial expressions or reading body language.  Those three things give a connotation that the denotation might not fully show.  And, without them, we are apt to create our own connotation outside of the words themselves. Both the writer and the reader are in dangerous territory.

I did what many of you do, checked my Face Book wall before plugging my phone in on the nightstand by my bed to recharge its battery while I recharged mine.  I saw the private message icon, and though not a friend of mine on Face Book, I easily recognized her profile pic as a former parishioner from a church my first husband had pastored.  Since leaving that pastorate 5 years ago, and getting divorced 4 years ago, I had not seen nor spoken with her.

My tolerance for Christian church people was already at an all time low.  Divorce in the church had been brutal.  Condemnation and abandonment without facts or God's grace was what I had faced for the past 4 years.  Though I had moved on, fallen deeply in love, remarried and finally became the person I was designed to be, others seemed fixated over what I see as my insignificant life.  Their processing time on MY LIFE was way longer than was my own processing of my own life. 

If I could say verbatim what she said, without incriminating her or involving others, I would.  She sent 4 private messages of sarcastic, condemning, condescending, scathing and accusatory content.  They came out of the blue after 5 years with no contact.  They crushed me.  Not only were her words crushing, but divorce (though necessary and justifiable at times) creates guilt to begin with.  Her words ripped open every scab, every scar, every feeling of failure I had.

I tried to ebb the drowning tide.  No amount of know and reason could blockade the attack to my heart though.  Sobs came at 11:30 p.m.  There was no sleep that night as I wrestled the hurt back time and time again.  Feeling spent the next day, the sobs diminished to the occasional crying at differing parts of the day.  I wondered if she really knew the damage her words had incurred.  I wondered if that was her true intent or if, by ignorance, she spoke with no concept of what her weapon had done.  She surely had only done it to make herself feel better because she did not give me a gift with her words, but stole something valuable to me.

The last message from her came 3 nights later.  If I thought the first three were rough, they paled in comparison.  I reeled backwards at the thought that anyone, Christian or non-believer in the things of God, would speak to someone like that.  I wondered if she had stood in my presence would she have been able to say such brutal words in the flesh.  The tide swelled again and my spirit sighed a sad and troubled sigh.  I added to my plate of guilt and hurt more guilt over having been a pastor's wife and seemingly failing to teach those in that church, or maybe any church we had pastored, who God really was and what love meant.  I needed to give grace irregardless.

Those who hold a big place in my life listened to my cries, encouraged me, spoke truth and then prayed that God would send a tangible that day to show His love - that He knows and sees.  Three times that day God brought tangibles; an email from old friends who I haven't talked with really since my divorce asking how I was and that they were thinking about me, praying and wondering if there was anything they could do for me, a couple I had never met in a restaurant sharing about God while painting this magnificent picture of love of others, and a found penny in my running path [God's longtime language to me that He knows and will take care of me].

Though I tried to respond to her crushing words, she would not hear truth.  My only option, block her ability to ever send me a message again.  I did that only after wishing her well.  It was my own message back to her - humanity deserves kindness.  I have no doubt she did not get it.  I got bloodied but bandaged up by people who truly love me and a God who continues to show me what love is.

2 comments:

  1. My heart was broken when I read this post...to the point that it was if I could feel it beating on the outside of my chest.

    Anger welled up in hurt's place..."I could take that lady out!" came out of my mouth in the empty office.

    Why do those who claim to follow Christ allow themselves to be used by the Enemy to ravage?

    Nancy, I am so sorry for this lady's words. If I could take them away...I would. In there place, I leave you these...
    The Todd's love you.
    We wish the very best for you and Doug.

    These words were on my heart from early this morning...
    Christ is enough for you.
    Christ is enough for you.
    He's everything you need!

    They are from me to you...and go right along with these words from I Peter...

    He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.
    1 Peter 2:24

    Love you Nancy!

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  2. Sam ..... You are a glass of cold water amongst the vipers:) Thank you for your heart that felt my own heart and then your action of affirmation of your love and God's. I love you and Pam back!

    ReplyDelete