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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Outside the Box

"Life is a mystery and not everything folds up neatly to fit into boxes." 
-Liz Weil

The surrounding walls are rigid. They have been erected from years of feeling inadequate and unworthy, criticized and betrayed.  Life has added layer upon layer of hurt and mistrust on a shaky foundation of questions. The walls of the box are decorated with mementos of hurt and disappointment. The window to the outside world is clouded by distrust and the criticism of others are shaped by hurt that decorates the walls. Completely unable to step outside, the box becomes a prison, without recognizing who the captor is... Yourself. Distrust and suspicion holds everyone who wishes to reach into the box at bay. A facade of cheerfulness that doesn't quite reach the eyes is held for everyone to see. A parade of pride and boastful claims of compassion is a banner waved high, yet words of criticism belies the fact and are as bile that flows freely from a wound that will not heal. Offer a mirror so one can see? Play the notes that are etched upon their heart so they can hear how the music reflects the bondage they don't recognize they're in?  Or just let them be?  Fault is found in each one of us, yet one who has never had a need for forgiveness (the perfect I suppose), does not recognize the need to forgive. Within each of us lies a seed of potential; not just potential for the very best, but also potential for the very worse.  Until one stands on the brink of great expectations and find themselves fragile, where they thought themselves strong. Until one understands life has the potential, to hurt you until all your fragile strength is gone. Until one is humbled by the fact that the righteousness they believe they stand upon, is nothing but a pedestal from which they can fall, can they truly have empathy for the failure of others. Before criticizing the woman on the street, ask yourself if you have ever fallen short of perfection. Before judging the man, who in his arrogance has strayed, ask yourself if you've ever been guilty of self-centered behavior. Before shaming a teen who has wondered into a world of drugs, ask yourself if you've ever rebelled.  A young woman found with child but no husband, who are we to judge. The vantage point  from a box full of hurts and unresolved wounds, is a narrow tunnel which reflects little light. It's easy to see the rough edges of others, without noticing the rose colored glasses perched upon the bridge of ones own nose while looking in the mirror. Empathy and forgiveness comes from surviving a fall into an abbess so deep and dark that you cannot recognize yourself. If one has been to the abbess and survived, the only god thing that can be taken from it, is the multi-dimensional ability to look at the actions of others and recognize that most hurtful behaviors, are inflicted by those who are hurt. The layers of the wall are sloughed off by tears that are shed from returning from the abbess with a new understanding that the faults seen in others, are merely a reflection of the scars upon our own heart. The redemption of the cross is where the fountain of bile is bound and replaced by rivers of living water. The gift that comes from having been forgiven, is a true desire to extend forgiveness, charity, and compassion to the ones who deserve anything but. When a hand of forgiveness is extended from one who was wounded to the one who inflected the wound, the walls come tumbling down. Life outside the box is a vulnerable life indeed. The imperfection recognizes the imperfect, not just in others, but first in themselves.  Yet when one has a true desire to forgive, they gain the ability to love  the healed and appreciates the scared.

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