The Sum of Our Pain

The most dangerous thing I know comes with a heartbeat.

There is no weapon on this earth more fatal than a human being. We hurt each other. We destroy each other’s spirit. We strike first before another can because they definitely will. (/end sarcasm) :-/ We even share memes about how heartless we are as if it’s a badge of honor.

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You’re not fooling anyone, sweetie.

More so, we are a danger to ourselves, to our own happiness. We put our pride before God’s guidance. We fear what our friends think more than the desires of our own heart. We’d rather be alone and miserable than stamp down our ego and need someone.

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We are all just broken hearts walking next to each other leaving more pain in our wake. There really should be warning signs posted.

DANGER: A Jagged Heart Lives Here.

We think we’re being wise when we cut ties with someone but truly, we are just scared out of our minds.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7

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Do you have a song that puts your heart in the fetal position and tears in your eyes?

For me, it’s when Donny Hathaway sings, “I love you in a place where there’s no space or time/ I love you for my life/ You’re a friend of mine.” My heart stutters and I instantly remember every heartache, every disappointment, every failure.

My dad broke my heart before any other man ever could. I remember every no-show, every unrecognized Valentine’s Day, every forgotten birthday. I’ve had four graduations in my life; my dad never made one. I remember how I’d have to walk to my grandmother’s house when he came to town if I wanted to see him because even as a child, I knew seeing me wasn’t a priority.  No matter how many times he proved my love for him was misplaced, my heart wouldn’t let go of him. My expectations of him stopped, though. My resentment of him was a chain I had to break. He was who he was, and inside me lived a little girl who was both still in love with and wanted to love her father.

But he did his damage. He isn’t the golden standard by which I govern all men. He isn’t the missing part of me whom I’m seeking. He isn’t a dormant fear which resurrects when a man with similar traits enters my life. My father is simply a man who broke my heart.

And he wasn’t the last.

With each heartbreak, with each lie, with each disappointment, I became colder, more self-reliant, less forgiving. I’ve done my share of damage to others and I’ve absorbed other’s insecurities into my own psyche. My soul is a patchwork quilt of my own pain and others’ harm. The injuries have healed, but the scars remain visible.

“Scars are tattoos with better stories.” “Scars mean that you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.”

At the right time, those statements ring true. Yet who would be without scars? We all have them. What if we recognized that often, actions we take are results of actions that was taken against us in the past? You ignored his phone call because someone ignored yours in the past. You lied to her because someone lied to you in the past. You refuse to forgive because your forgiveness was taken for granted before. What if every time we thought we were standing our ground and being strong, it was just our defenses kicking in seemingly to protect us from something that happened years ago? What if your behavior is just pain lashing out and has naught to do with self-empowerment?

Are you certain the decisions you make are truly yours alone and not your scars’ judgment? I refuse to look foolish so if I feel like someone is making me seem a fool, I react instantly and fatally. Sometimes, it was an overreaction, but it was a risk worth taking, right? I have the scar already where someone exhibited a similar sign and damaged me. I have to prevent that happening again at all costs, even love.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

We are our past and we wear it as our armor, no matter if we’re cognizant of such or not. What we should be cognizant of is that the person across from us is not what happened to us. Scars govern their actions just as it does yours. The damage you’ve endured is no greater than another’s. Hurts hurt.  I’ve done heartless things in my past which I am both apologetic for and not proud of. And I’ve had my heart shattered by lies, deceit, and neglect. I’m neither perfect nor blameless. And neither are any of you reading this.

We have to learn to forgive and to seek forgiveness. You hurt God every day and He forgives you. Not only does He forgive you, He does not remember your transgressions. Why are you still giving life to your past when God is not?

Acknowledge and forgive those that hurt you, regardless if they ask for such or not. And ask to be forgiven for those you’ve hurt, regardless if you feel they deserved it or if you believe you did nothing.

For you are the sum of your pain, and your pain hurts others. And it’s hurting you.

Ephesians 4:31-32 reads, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Today’s Soundtrack – Donny Hathaway, A Song For You

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