Sunday, May 30, 2010
You know what I hate about me? I hate that I'm judgmental. It strikes me as especially hypocritical considering my current state of affairs. The only reason my life has any hope right now is because of people who love me without cause. It's a sobering contrast when I consider my consistent inability to offer grace to others.
Those who used to work with me could attest to it. I remember how harsh I was with a girl who was emotionally traumatized when I asked her to leave her friends in one city and move to another. "It's not about you," I told her, "get over it and advance the Kingdom of God." I ought to punch myself in the face.
What I didn't realize is that healthy people have emotions to process. I never did that. I tried to find ways to numb pain. I thought to be a good soldier you had to always be strong. There was no time to feel loss or enjoy life. People were only worth the investment if their visible strengths were more prominent than their visible weaknesses. What a joke.
The thing that bugs me the most about it is how I was faking everyone out. I'd tell them to suck it up and deal, and most of them would try. I, on the other hand, would cope with pain by pretending it wasn't there. I feel like I tricked everyone into thinking that I was invincible and that if they tried hard they could be tough like me. The crazy part is that I believed it.
Maybe that's why I'm so judgmental. I actually thought you could be fine by just deciding to be. I concluded that people who didn't make that choice were more concerned with their own comfort than important spiritual matters. I'd notice patterns in people who were actually processing healthy emotions and I'd make judgment calls about their maturity.
Obviously it wasn't hard to transition to snap judgments about everyone. I still do it. Just the other day I met an insecure overweight woman who interrupted people and talked loud. I remember deciding that her efforts to help kids were merely a way for her to cope with the fact that she couldn't get married and have her own family. How ugly can my soul be? Someone shoot me!
My tragic flaw is seeing a pattern instead of a person. That poor woman has pain. And she's a real person. Probably with a much more beautiful heart than I'll ever have. And in spite of inevitable wounds inflicted by guys like me she has chosen to care for people - many of whom may never appreciate her deep goodness.
I suppose the silver lining is that the people that I berated managed to find healthy ways of processing emotions and still achieving greatness. I'm in awe of who they are and what they've done, all while being true to themselves and maintaining personal wholeness. I could never have done that.
I'm a loser for trying to lead them. They're the real heroes. They should have led me. I wish they could take me back to the beginning and teach me just one lesson about how to process pain and still love people. They've still offered me grace, even after enduring all my judgments. Damn me!