After a sobering sermon on forgiveness, I find myself searching my heart and mind for relief, release or at least a NOT GUILTY verdict-I discover that I have been looking at many things in the wrong light.
The spiritual director spoke before the band played. She talked about her granddaughter’s 13th birthday party, planned at a roller rink-50 children were invited. Only two girls out of those fifty came to the party-her granddaughter was crushed, and she wanted revenge of the eye for an eye sort. She swore she wanted to go to each and every home that housed the little brats, because these girls responded YES to the invite.
Crushing. I wept for the little girl, and didn’t stop weeping until the service was over. I have felt that exact heartache; there is a special kind of pain related to disrespect, cruelty and sucker punches to the gut-it isn’t pretty and it isn’t right, but what can you do?
As of late, I have been isolating myself. I left our church of four years, ended friendships that were toxic and one sided, even stopped going to exercise class-I blame it on my bad knee, which is partly true. The other reason? I have been deeply hurt by no less than three women in that very class. One woman was a long time friend who taunted me to the point of madness-she belittled, chastised and stalked. I was honest with her, and no apology was forthcoming, not that I expected or demanded one. I had hopes for the other two women, a friendship was budding…but these ladies had been BFFs forever, and the one didn’t think too kindly of me butting into the equation.
I had arranged a tea for us this past Winter. We were having a lovely time until the woman I later learned was insecure and unforgiving, told me that she never attended our local bent and dent discount store because, wait for it…Amish people smell.
“What the fazuck am I doing here?” The last thing I wanted was another judgmental and unforgiving woman in my life. I dropped the ball and there it lay. As much as I needed to get out amongst the living, protecting my heart was much more important. I haven’t been back in months. It saddens me because I truly felt at ease with these women, until someone complained about my baking a carrot cake for a member’s birthday.
What is wrong with people?
It amazes me how God works in our lives. I had thought for years that the women of Schaefferstown were uppity and lackluster, set in their ways and averse to any one or any thing that challenged their black and white view of life. One particular day I was called out by the instructor as I sat, minding my own business, talking to the woman next to me.
“Were you a rebel in High School?”
It happens everywhere I go: because I don’t care what others think of me, or perhaps because I do, in my own way-I stick out like a sore thumb. In college I began working at a local restaurant as a hostess. I sensed the cocktail waitresses and bartender were none too pleased with the new girl-the young blonde with the happy go lucky attitude was shunned-so I turned myself into the dumb young blonde who sarcastically spoke of the customers and employees with condescension and a touch of malice.
Everyone loved her.
I fancied myself an imbecile, too stupid to add up a bar tab, too clumsy to carry a tray of cocktails, too silly to ever be taken seriously. As an emotionally abused child I learned how to fade into the woodwork; and now, in my fifties? I simply can’t risk one more heartache-so I shut myself down, don’t risk putting myself out there. I have become my mother.
And so it was, as I sat there in the tiny little church in a strip mall this morning, that I began to feel the Grinch’s heart warm up a tad. I wanted to raise my hand and ask the pastor how one is supposed to forgive seven times seventy without being seen and treated like a doormat. I truly believe that is why I wasn’t taken seriously to begin with-the old Sara was abundantly loving and incredibly happy, despite all that stood in her way. The new version? Hardened, calloused and distrusting of anyone who gives her a sideways glance. Nothing gets in, yes-but nothing goes out, and that is the point of this blog.
I want my heart back, Jesus. I miss the girl with open arms and a love for others that couldn’t be dimmed, no matter the beating I took out in the real world.
Oh, what I wouldn’t do to have her back~