I am fifty- one years old.
I have lived the life of the brokenhearted most of those years.
It all boils down to one reason.
I have been disrespected. Greatly disrespected.
It is I who have disrespected myself.
Let me start at the beginning. I was born with a heightened sense of justice. I don’t know where it came from really. My Mother probably. I think she had it pretty bad. God, most likely- He probably did the instilling, in the womb of the woman who spent a lifetime defending herself. And then, in turn, we would defend the disadvantaged together, her and I.
In my youth, I was picked on a lot because we were pretty poor and had…..uhh…”funky” clothes, raggedy hair, and lived in trailers and cars all parked on the wrong side of the tracks. So I knew about pain. I knew where injustice lived and was camped there myself. I have memories of barrels burning in the street, and all those street people gathered around, trying to stay warm. They were my friends, and they huddled together in affinity with me and mine.
I learned to discern at a very early age, motives, and genuineness:
“It will not take her long to figure out
If you do not genuinely love her.
She has been conditioned to spot this early.” I wrote in one of my earlier poems. Of course it was all about me, but I let you think it was about a single Mother of two.
It was a big deal to me- justice. I didn’t like to see anyone get hurt. And I especially didn’t like it when anyone hurt me. I’d had too much of it. By the time I was 13, I’d already suffered a lifetime of abuse. I had a mentally handicapped brother who was a year below me. We were children numbers 4 and 5, in our stream of seven. I was exhausted by him, and fiercely protective of him all at the same time. Where Len was concerned, I saw a lot of injustice. Times were different back then. Everyone was hurling insults at him it seemed. It wasn’t socially incorrect yet. They weren’t protected like they are today. He was my shadow in those days. I may as well have been him. And they were cruel. But our cruelest enemy was a member of our own family. Our own flesh and blood doing unspeakable wrongs to both Len and myself. It was a lot for a young girl to deal with.
So, today when I sense injustice, or if it is done to me, I react. I know when you are pulling a low blow. I know when you are twisting things around, and throwing the blame on me, so you don’t have to deal honestly with your own garbage. And for fifty years, I have always responded in the same way. I will first get hurt ( a natural response), I will cry, I may yell (at you if you are my husband), and then I will proceed to make sure you understand how you hurt me. I will verbally let you know. I will most likely shame you. All in the hopes that you will grasp how phenomenally badly it hurts- what you did. But I don’t feel any better after. And, you, the perpetrator, you’ll do it again. Here’s how I know you will do it again. Because I just taught you to disrespect me. Because I didn’t respect myself.
I tried to talk you (or yell you, or shame you, or cry you) into loving me right, into being kinder, being more honest, and more just. In my desperate attempt to feel no pain, I tried to gain control of you. Change you. Mold you. Mold you into someone who loves me right. Why? Because I failed to realize that I AM already loved. I AM already special. I AM already worthy. I put all my hope in you to ensure my safety and my happiness….. and that was wrong.
No matter what happens in my relationships with others, God has already assured me that my true worth lies in the love that he has for me and that he continues to demonstrate to me. He has chosen beautiful words to describe this love to me in his precious book (love letter) to me. Words like, beloved, child of God, royal priestess, bride of Christ, chosen one, dearly loved etc.
When I am aware of this- aware deeply on the inside- I can walk away. Walk away without saying a word. I have my self(God)- respect, and I don’t have to join you in facing the aftermath of your words and actions. I, for one, do not have to take the bait. I don’t have to tell you what you did wrong. You already know. It is not my job to make you better, kinder, truer. It is not my job to convince you of your injustice.
When I am able to walk away, I find pleasure in knowing that what I did was pleasing to God. Pleasure in knowing that I did not sin, in turn. That I let go and let God. That I trusted him enough to not feel that I had to control the outcome. Trusted him enough to take my pain, and comfort me with HIS hand- not mine, and not yours.
So the question then, that must be posed to this fifty-something worn out soul is: Can I walk away? Can I break 50 years of habit overnight? And WHAT if I can? What if He has given me miracle revelation tonight, and what if he has been priming me a long time to receive this truth? Several decades of priming, perhaps? Do you think I have learned? Perhaps you would like to join me in prayer? I’ll pray this prayer of strength for you, ladies, if you pray it for me. For isn’t this a female problem, more than a male problem? Aren’t we the ones who get hurt the easiest? Aren’t we the ones who take the bait more readily? Aren’t we the ones with all the words? But hasn’t God called us to a quiet and gentle spirit?
Do we believe enough? Do we really believe that His love is enough?
Respect & Pleasure. Remember where your self respect comes from. (my new word to myself is God-respect). Remember how much pleasure we get out of pleasing our God with our actions (walking away and not sinning).
Respect & Pleasure ladies. What do you say we try it?