after a bout of crying in the car

WHAT I KNOW NOW:

  • The coming together of two individuals in marriage is just one — crucial, but — relatively small facet of two families coming together.
  • Even when you’re just the catalyst for a storm, you can get caught up in the middle and get quite hurt, tossed to and fro in the fray.
  • When you’re feeling that distance from your people — impermeable, imperceptible — press in bravely and they just might surprise you with their reaching-out in kind. And remind you that you’re among family indeed.

THINGS I’M LEARNING, STILL:

  • The impulse to pull away and be cold toward the one I love most when I am hurting comes from a darker place that I’ve been willing to imagine. As God brings us togetherer, so Satan works to separate. Don’t let him win. (“Choose each other. Always choose each other,” she said.)
  • It doesn’t do any good to tell yourself the victim’s narrative over and over — in fact, it will only make you cry more, probably in public. That song of self-pity is a tempting one to hum sadly to oneself (though loudly enough for people to hear), but it’s not healthy or productive. Or fair.
  • Speaking of fair: Past hurts, built-up issues, personal sensitivities are not fair. They blow up at inopportune moments and burn innocent victims. If you’ve been hissed at, the only thing you can do is propagation prevention. Make sure the hurt doesn’t go forth and make more victims.

PRAYERS I AM PRAYING:

  • God, teach us how to be closer to each other through difficulties and hurts. Use these times to teach us what it means to “have each other’s backs” and to “be on the same team.”
  • God, let my heart be more like yours — in undeserved offenses, let me see the hurting heart. In unfair circumstances, remind me of the grace that you lavish on me. In those dark and stormy corners of my heart that I like to sit in sometimes, back to the world, humming that song of self-pity, show me hope and teach me peace.
  • God, help us to continue to press into this community you have us in. Let us not miss out on the present for fear or shyness or laziness; let us be open, and give us opportunities to learn from that openness. Keep teaching me about community, God, it’s a fascinating gift you’ve given us on this side of heaven.
  • Thank you for surprise interventions and people who love us through treats. Thank you for places that are private enough to cry in, public enough to hold hands in. Thank you for being greater, more merciful, more gracious — more light and hope and everything good — than all of my grievances and fears.
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