Here’s a quote I came across whilst sermon crafting:
“The chief fantasy most of us served as we left our parents was that we would be decent, moral beings, that we would not hurt others, least of all our children. Who would have thought that just by being who we were, we would hurt our children, our mate, and ourselves?” (Creating a Life, James Hollis)
Hollis maintains that our work in the second half of our life is to turn and face the places that we don’t want to trot out publicly: our shadows. Those places we most fervently and cleverly seek to hide are where our salvation lies. They have much to teach us, if we would allow their wisdom. There is soul gold amidst the oh-so-human muck of our being.
If, that is, we allow ourselves the compassion to know ourselves.
Imagine. People get hurt and they hurt each other. It’s the cost of being human, this hurting. No matter how pristine our intentions or how tightly we seek to present only the lovely, our humanity does what it does – it messes in the emotional humanity of others.
Somehow, this seems to be surprising. A bump in relationship happens and we are outraged or astounded or furious or hurt hurt hurt and we take up our stance of habit which can be tears or silence or ice or shouting or artful shunning or… you get my meaning. There seems to be a sense inside of us that surely if people around us truly loved us, hurt would be no more and surely people would know the fine gold of our intentions and would never be hurt by our being.
Crazy making, that.
We hurt people. They hurt us. We can spend sleepless nights fretting about our woundings of our beloveds (why is it always at 3:00 AM that the recrimination gremlins frolic?). We can drag the sack of our naughties behind us and know that it will grow to epic proportions.
Or, we could experiment with forgiving ourselves for the human ways we bumble about. We can explore ourselves with a sense of curiosity and oh, with a sense of tenderness.
And, we can turn to our beloveds and learn from them and with them. Being in love and being a beloved of others provides us with the best teaching staff we could ask for.
Jesus had much to say about this thing called being human. Love, forgiveness, grace and courage make for messy blessing as we explore ourselves through the tutelage of others.
Sometimes we give thanks for the flinch and the grow of life.