Monday, June 06, 2011

Answering myself

Yesterday, I asked myself some big questions, and I'm not going to chicken out this time. I'm going to give myself some answers. For an introvert, it's easy to come up with these questions. For a depressive, it's not even second nature, it's first nature. What I usually do is just let one question lead to another until I've amassed a hoard.

I chose that word intentionally. One of the worst things the womanchild and I can call each other is a hoarder. We've lived through that and had to spend weeks getting rid the stuff my husband had gathered. Even now, when she comes home to visit, a planned activity is getting rid of the stuff I've accumulated. (Do I really need four cast iron pans designed just for cornbread sticks, even if they did all come from grandmothers?)

I want to do that with the mental clutter as well. I'm afraid that I've taken the adage that the unexamined life is not worth living too seriously. I've examined a lot, sometimes scouring for deeply faded memories for just more fodder for the mental grist mill. Let's get rid of some of it, or at least box it up somewhat neatly. So here we go....

Do I fear my own lack of competency? That's one of those that is both easy and hard. The easy answer is yes, I do. Why I feel that way is more complicated. I'm one of those people who basically does things well. Other than anything involving serious math or athletics, I'm pretty good at whatever I set my mind to. I'm reasonably intelligent and know that I have talents and limits. I'll never be the type of cook who can go into the kitchen, look at what's in there and just whip up a delicious meal. I've always been able though to follow just about any recipe and make a dish that people ask me for the recipe. I've always fallen into some training responsibilities at every job I've had because I can help people become better at what they do. As a very shy young adult, I followed a career path that led me into sales and found that I am good at a job which requires putting your personality out there constantly and using persuasion skills. These aren't the only examples I can cite. So, I have proof that I'm competent, and that niggling, undermining lack of belief in myself is still there. I've used this before as a tool, sort of an 'I'll show you' to prove something to myself.

I can do it again, but I think that there has to be a more positive way. I'm terrible about getting stuck in the past, and there have definitely been things in my life to undermine my self confidence. What I've come to realize is that forgiveness is a chore I have to tackle. I'm not in the forgive and forget school of forgiveness. Forgetting is too high a price to pay. Forgetting would change the person I am, and underneath all the garbage I've piled up in my mind, I basically really like who I am. Forgiveness, though, is a path to peace. It both comes from and increases our ability to love. Plus, I can never forget this. If I am to live as a Christian and not just call myself one, forgiveness is my responsibility. I cannot legitimately pray 'Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us' if I am not working on forgiveness.

It's not easy. There are words and events that still hurt. There are people I've loved, trusted and admired who sometimes taught me that I wasn't good enough. That probably wasn't the intent, but it has been the affect. One thought has come to me over and over though, you can't fault someone for giving you the best they have even when it's damaged. We are all flawed, hurting people who come from flawed, hurting people and choose to involve ourselves with more flawed, hurting people. It's a universal condition of being human.

Forgiveness won't change that, but I do believe that forgiveness can reach into the past. I don't think that it will blur and soften the old, hurtful images. I actually think it sharpens not the picture but our vision. It lets us take in more information, understand more and eventually gain more peace. I also think I've going to have actually make myself focus on forgiveness every time of those old, self-negating thoughts comes into my head.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Long ago, I forgave my parents, using the logic that they did the best they could with what they knew, and they didn't wake up every morning looking for ways to ruin my life. Your statement about flawed, hurting people is so right on.

I have other forgiveness issues to work on right now. Having to do with people (one person in particular) who are in my very immediate present, and transgressions that are not distant past. This should be interesting...but it definitely nees to be done. So I'll be right there with you working on forgiveness...

June 06, 2011 10:39 PM  
Blogger Nelle said...

"We are all flawed, hurting people who come from flawed, hurting people and choose to involve ourselves with more flawed, hurting people. It's a universal condition of being human." This so well sums up my belief and since I have made this realization it has helped me tremendously. Most people, if honest, would admit that forgiveness is not something that comes easily, if ever. I found that forgiving people, even friends who abandoned me in my hour of need, freed me to move past the hurt. I am so glad you are writing again. I missed your entries more than you will ever know. Welcome back, friend. :)

June 07, 2011 5:56 AM  
Blogger Virginia said...

You are one of the finest writers I have found on the internet, in part because you are willing to stand in front of a mirror, make an honest assessment and then do the very hard work of always trying to do better - the path to becoming "a true human being" as I call it.
I have to think there is a "time" for forgiveness - that one needs time to heal the injuries first. Well, at least I need that time. I cannot find a place to forgiveness when the pain is still raw. A better person can maybe, but I can't.

June 08, 2011 8:17 PM  
Blogger the Nest Keeper said...

oh, girl! we are ALL "walking wounded." Remember that your Jesus-- He was too. He IS our wounded Healer. He drank deeply of the various pains that come from our being human and so broken. And because HE conquered death and sickness and sadness and sin and pain, WE DO HAVE HOPE.

I think many people confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. But forgiveness only takes you. and it ultimately cuts YOU free. Reconciliation takes two. And sometimes (that gift) happens. Often it doesn't. Give yourself the gift of cutting YOURSELF free :)

You are such a gifted writer. I wish there was a way for us to reconnect! it's been so many years! You are loved!

June 17, 2011 10:48 PM  

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