Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how we are all different. I don’t just mean in physical appearance, or in our hearts… I have also extended my thinking to cover things like how we respond to things, what works FOR US, our opinions and the way we approach the situations life gives us, etc.
Something else I have become increasingly aware of in my own heart is the need to not only respect these differences, but celebrate them because, quite frankly, the world needs all of us. We just have different things to contribute.
Sadly, in some cases, there will be times where celebration falls short, because that particular thing is disheartening, saddening, confusing. Perhaps that person has been shaped by a particular experience in a negative way, and that is the reason for them responding in a way that elicits hurt, anger and bitterness though.
There is a saying that goes something like this : I still care. I still want to see you eat. Just not at my table.
I understand that. A part of me can agree with that saying. And yet….
I will always want people to eat at my table. Eventually. If at all possible. And of course saying that elicits responses like, ”You’re a sucker for punishment”, ”you’re weak and a doormat”, ”you clearly lack boundaries and deserve to have your peace thrown in turmoil, because you aren’t protecting it”.
What is really funny to me is that I CAN see the small bits of truth in those things. Thanks to technology we have an overload of information to teach us all of the above, especially when it comes to boundaries and protecting our peace. We have advice pouring in via social media in the way of articles and memes and short videos to make us strong and prevent us from becoming ‘doormats’.
I remember reading once : The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.
And so, as my heart is changing radically (in what I deem as all the best ways) a lot of the advice and sayings out there are becoming things that I just can’t fully agree with. A sucker for punishment, indeed! Because this DOES make me MORE vulnerable, and more open to experiencing hurt and heartache. BUT it has also brought me a strange sense of peace, which I simply can’t afford to fight against to satisfy the countless items of advice to ‘protect my peace’ when I have found it in a way that is not in alignment with all these things.
I am able to agree to disagree. I don’t need to always be right. I also don’t need to force my opinions and advice on people in a way that I get frustrated and angry when they don’t do what I have told them to. I am ACCEPTING of the concept that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! One of the hardest things I have done, and have to do every now and then, is forgive people who are not sorry, will not say they are sorry, and live in a space where they truly believe that they have done nothing wrong.
And I have, in all of this, realised something that I think is important – TO ME : I actually don’t need apologies, or changed behaviour to prove that you’re sorry. It isn’t why I am still here roaming this earth – it’s not my purpose, if you will.
Other people’s choices, behaviour and the condition of their hearts is not my responsibility. But I AM responsible for my choices, behaviour and the condition of my heart.
There are people in my life who have hurt me deeply. Someone very close to me, my very own blood, has made a lifetime of ‘trying to destroy me’, when she was supposed to love me and nurture me. People in positions of power have abused me. But all of that? Whatever choices they made and whatever they tried to do to me? Well… that is on them. Not me. I have learnt that forgiving them, even though they will never say they are sorry… TRULY forgiving them in MY heart, brings ME peace. And pretty much introduces a freedom within me that I have struggled to grasp for so many years.
Jumping back to eating at my table : any wounds, dissatisfaction, or pain that they be suffering now might possibly be self-inflicted. It is not for me to judge them for that. Or to even rejoice in the fact that they are now possibly ‘getting what they deserve’. NOT MY PLACE. NOT MY BUSINESS.
And if those people reach a point in their lives where they show up at my table, WITHOUT apology, needing a little bit of kindness, compassion, or food for their souls to help them face the day because a particular choice they made or circumstance they are facing has caused them a deep hurt, despite warnings I may have issued or advice I had given? Well, who am I to tell them : Oh, I care… but off you go. Go and find another table. Love isn’t served here.
The last few weeks have not only shown me all the things I DON’T want to be…. it has taught me the greatest lesson of all time. The ONE thing I ABSOLUTELY NEED to be. LOVE.
And because I lack perfection, this is harder than just learning the lesson. Along the way, I am finding myself in situations where this is being put to the test. In most cases, I am getting it right. There are still the odd ones though where I need to iron MYSELF out, and be more determined about living out love, no matter what it costs me.
Unfortunately, feeling and thinking all of the above means that there will be tables that I will be no longer invited to. There will not be an attitude of ‘agree to disagree’ and I will be viewed in an undesirable light, and criticised in many ways. And the feeling and knowledge of that? Well, it feels a bit like trying to swallow a pineapple whole.
But here’s the thing. It’s THEIR table. If I am not welcome there, then I need to respect that. I need to truly forgive so that I can find peace.
And if there ever comes a day where they approach MY table in an hour of need (even if only to just get them through that need and have them walk away again) I will set them a place, comfort them and show them kindness, and love them for as long as they let me.
NONE of these changed hearts attitudes have come without a price to me. NONE of the musings above have come easy. NONE of it is necessarily part of YOUR journey. But it is a part of mine. As are each and every one of you.
Here’s hoping you all have an incredibly special and wonderfully enlightening week ❤