Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Worst of Times

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way..."

I find myself contemplating a bit of Dickens this morning, recalling a very trying season of our lives. This season, begun so auspiciously and ending in such ugliness and heartache, rarely comes to mind these days.  However there is, on occasion, a happening or a comment that brings with it a rush of memories.  Last week was one such occasion.  It all began with a story--news of dishonesty and lying, of crime and punishment, a story of someone I once knew, distrusted, and who had caused so much hurt.

It's quite interesting really, my default reaction to this news. Suffice it to say, it was ugly.  And prideful. It was the urge to grab the phone and call those who had weathered this season with me, those who knew. It was the longing to email the story to a few people along with a big, "I freaking told you so!"  It was even, I'm truly ashamed to say, laughter. I suppose it could be said that it was one of those moments in life when it seems that a wrong has been somehow righted, when someone who caused you pain gets their comeuppance.

It wasn't long before I felt that nudging, that little voice in my spirit and, to be honest, I didn't really want to listen.  I wanted to have my little "victory" that I was so enjoying.  Self righteousness. Justification. Validation. This reaction of mine included not one ounce of compassion, grace, or mercy.  (Oh my, I find it difficult to even type that now. Shame on me. I told you it was ugly.)  I even chose to ignore, for a little while, the voice of my Father crying for me to stop. But my Jesus is patient, kind, long suffering.  He is grace and mercy, always turning my heart around--as soon as I choose to listen.

I could tell you the exact moment I chose to hear his voice, the moment when he broke my heart with loving reminders of my own imperfections, of shortcomings and times when I, myself, had wronged others. It was a moment of questioning as well, for I thought I'd forgiven. I thought I'd let it go, but something in my heart was still holding on to things thought to be long gone. There was still forgiveness to be had, grace to be given, healing to be done.

If there is anything I've learned in my 41 years, it is this--God is all about the process, using life experiences to constantly mold us into His likeness. I find myself without the ability to express what is in my heart.  His love overwhelms me, drawing me closer, changing me. I am learning, albeit very slowly, to react with grace, to love without judgement, and to trust. Thank you, my precious Jesus, for loving me and for bringing healing through the ugliness.

photo by Kyra...

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