Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Am So Much More

This afternoon while I was waiting for my assessment with the Occupational Therapist, I dug out my favourite waiting room book. There are 31 chapters to this book and I numbered them off so that whatever day of the month it is, I read the equivalent chapter. Here is part of the 17Th chapter:
"The first quality that strikes when one looks into the eyes of a child is its innocence: its lovely inability to lie or wear a mask or pretend to be anything other than what it is. In this the child is exactly like the rest of Nature. A dog is a dog; a rose, a rose; a star, a star; everything is quite simply what it is. Only the adult human being is able to be one thing and pretend to be another. When grown-ups punish a child for telling the truth, for revealing what it thinks and feels, the child learns to dissemble and so innocence is destroyed. Soon it will join the ranks of the numberless people who say helplessly, "I do not know who I am, " for, having hidden the truth about themselves for so long from others, they end up by hiding it from themselves. How much of the innocence of childhood do you still retain, is there anyone today in whose presence you can be simply and totally yourself. as nakedly open and innocent as a child?

There is another more subtle way in which the innocence of childhood is lost: when the child is infected by the desire to become somebody. Contemplate the crowds of people who are striving might and main to become, not what Nature intended them to be - musicians, cooks, mechanics, carpenters, inventors - but somebody: to become successful, famous, powerful; to become something that will bring, not quiet self fulfillment, but self-glorification, self-expansion. You are looking at people who have lost their innocence because they have chosen not to be themselves but to promote themselves, to show off, even if it be only in their own eyes. Look at you daily life. Is there a single thought, word or action untainted by the desire to become somebody, even if all you seek to become is a spiritual success or a saint unknown to anyone except yourself?"
The highlighted sentences I have underlined in my book because they continue to be food for thought as I journey.

The journey has been rocky lately, hence my silence. It takes time to process, pray and believe that beauty can unfold from the pain. While learning how to stop being one thing and pretending to be another I'm stepping on the toes of those most precious to me. Sadness has been the dominant emotion within. When people around me don't see the process as something beautiful it's easy to believe that any forward movement is simply a figment of my own imagination. Not only have I doubted I was making progress, there've been times when I've convinced myself that I'm only a bitch in hiding.

Sometimes it sucks that there is no going back. Sucks that the journey forward is uncomfortable not only for me, but also for those with whom my life is intertwined. It takes everything within me not to go around saying, "sorry, sorry" for simply learning to be me. Father Charlie has often reminded me that I'm in the process of being transformed and so too, those around me will feel the ripple effects and face their own transformation process.

To embrace my own journey I became willing this week to let go of all resentments, all the baggage I've carried with me since childhood in order to move forward. I also became willing to do that imperfectly. You know how it is sometimes? You decide a thing then wake up the next morning with the same issues plaguing you and it's easy to think you either didn't mean it or that the Spirit was busy with someone else, and that nothing really happened within you or else you'd be free from your humanity? That kind of thinking has only added to my shame level, it's never brought me any closer to real freedom. So for today I let go to the best of my ability, asking for God's grace to continue to be open to letting go.

I've spent a lifetime being quick to think of myself as bad. Someone's not happy with me, that means I must be bad. I make a less than stellar choice, I must be bad. I say the wrong thing, think the wrong thought, I must be bad. It takes so very little to label myself that way. No one is putting that on me, it's my own self talk feeding itself. During this rocky stretch of life I learned that the label no longer fits. There's a difference between being bad and being human. Something has settled within me, in that deep place, where I now know that any judgement I could make of myself will never be the full picture of who I am. I am so much more than my flaws. I have a hope that I can learn to live with myself, humanity intact, faith intact, look in the mirror and rejoice.

Today is the nine week mark of abstinence from sexual addiction for me. For all the turmoil of the past few days, I give thanks that my thoughts never even turned in that direction for relief. That was a gift of grace. I think that maybe I was actually living in the moment instead of trying to run away from it.
That, I know, is a most childlike quality.
There is hope.
God bless you as you embrace the journey.


annie said...

That business of learning to live without thoughts of "I am bad" is a hard one, isn't it? I get so frustrated that I am still fighting that battle.

God bless you Hope, in your journey.

Hope said...

Yes it is a hard one annie. It's the first thing to enter my head when I screw up.

daisymarie said...

there really is such a difference between being bad and being human. thanks for being so human and sharing so candidly
and congrats on your abstinence!

curious servant said...

After Jeremiah set fire to our church a year and a half ago, there was an awful lot of testing on him.

Turned out his IQ was far lower than we had ever imagined (46). One thing we learned from the psychology tests was that he believed of himself what he heard people say. If he was told he was bad, then he would start thinking and doing bad things.

Now we are careful to emphasize that he made a mistake, that he has a lot of good in him...

We could all look at what is good and steer our courses in that direction.

Thoughtful post.

Heidi Renee said...

Oh how I love this Hope!

Thank you for the reminder, I needed this today.

Love you!

onionboy said...

I'm sinful but not bad. Mostly I am working on being a bad sinner. God bless you Hope.

Anonymous said...

Thank you...


Jim said...

Hope…” You decide a thing then wake up the next morning with the same issues plaguing you and it's easy to think you either didn't mean it or that the Spirit was busy with someone else, and that nothing really happened within you or else you'd be free from your humanity?”

Is there ever a place in this life where we attain freedom from our humanity? What God brings unto us is “grace”; and that is not a word we define for ourselves, but a Reality who has come to abide within us, bringing with Him, not blank authorization to ignore what we know is wrong, but a knowledge of His willingness to walk with us in spite of who and what we are. Your Father Charlie continues to impress me (not that my being impressed is of any value), but we all must remember that we are not in this alone. We are connected to one another as well as unto Him; and we all may be on individual paths, but we are taking the same journey. Learning to accept His gift without taking it for granted is a walk we take one step at a time. This much I know, however, each time we surrender all that we are unto Him, He meets us at that point, ever faithful. It is not about achieving perfection. He, alone, is perfection. Freedom from “sin” (as much as I have determined in thirty-four years) equates to absolution of my guilt each time I kneel at the cross and give it to Him.

It’s always a blessing to stop here and find you “in spirit and in truth”…….Jim