I am by nature, a talker. I have always preferred the company of others to my own. I keep my life as busy and as interesting as I can. Over the past few months I have been more introspective than usual.
I am always reflecting on my life, and those around me. I think it's why I became a counsellor. That and my attitude to suffering. I was the kid at school that my friends came to when they were in pain, wanted to kill themselves or their male relations were climbing into their beds. My own childhood set me up wonderfully to sit at times with others who are experiencing pain and suffering. I believe this fine-tuned an awareness in me of what some suffering is like, and how helpful it can be to have people who can sit with suffering.
I am not an expert, not by a long shot. I just know that there were times in my life, when I wished for understanding, for non-judgemental compassion and caring, for patience and grace when I really blew it, and for people not to try and fix me. To respect and care for me in times when I least deserved it.
It has come to light recently that I may be contributing to others pain. Inadvertently and not intentionally, but nonetheless, I can see that I am not quite the person I aspire to be. It is not the first time. So I am quietly sitting on myself for a bit, leaving a bit more room for others, and not sucking up all the air in the room. It is embarassing and I am humbled to see myself in the eyes of a few.
Grace and sensitivity are not virtues I have by nature. They must be cultivated. For instance, when others are having a hard time, it is not wise to babble on about 'having fun' and 'look at all these wonderful things happening to me.' I talked about listening before, and I should tattoo it on my forehead so that I see it every time I see myself. I remember my aunt wrote in a album for me once, "God gave me two ears and one mouth, so I should spend twice as long listening as I do talking." I have been seeking a design for my arm tattoos this year, perhaps this would be apt!
At times my confidence and strength are positive attributes. Like when in a crisis. But when subtle things are happening around me, I can totally miss them.
Once upon a time, this would have spiralled me into a deep bout of depression. A cloud of uselessness and hopelessness would descend over me. I still fight it sometimes.
Lately my prayer life has been essential for me and my faith in God, is the most important thing I possess. It seems like such a little thing perhaps that I hurt someone when I am not afraid of a fight. But this is different. It forces me to confront my heart and soul. To admit my 'suckyness' A form of self-loathing emerges and it brings me to my knees. The only way I know how to silence it, is to hear my Father's voice.
His words are always accepting, always affirming and even when I am corrected, I still arise with my head up not down. I also believe in an enemy, an insidious power that seeks to kill and destroy. I also acknowledge I am not perfect and more importantly, I don't need to be.
I love forgiveness. I was not brought up to forgive. I was taught to hide things and to lie and to bear grudges. I added my own stinkers to this list when I reached adulthood, like unforgiveness and a hard heart.
The hardest person for me to forgive is myself. So I sit, quietly contemplating and seeking peace for my soul. And understanding. There is a time for busy, and there is a time when I can hear that voice I know so well say "Be still and know." And so for now, I surrender.