So according to the draft, this post was supposed to be an autumn post. Nothing like two months late.
It was supposed to be about how narcissistic I am, my generation is. About how loving others over yourself always has been and always will be the right thing, no matter what. Because people and relationships are why we are here. How we're not here to burn bridges, but to build bridges. Bridges over hate, bridges over resentment, bridges over all the little things about your co-workers, your boss, your family that annoy the heck out of you. Bridges over all the mess of differences and opinions, bridges straight into people's hearts.
I guess this is still kinda, sorta about that.
Maybe this post is weeks late because a girl and her prairie and her undoctored words and free-spirit life just don't have answers. Prairies and tea and birds, they're just all so raw and beautiful--they can doctor hurt, but sometimes they just can't fix broken.
Atticus said, "She always loved the things the rest of the world forgot, snails and slugs, and the broken flowers. I think that's why she loved me. I was just another broken thing the rest of the world forgot."
And Ann says, "Love breaks us vulnerably open--and then can break us with rejection."
Yeah, Atticus and Ann, they know.
And me, it's easy for me to see the broken in someone else. Easy before they've hurt me. It's easy to love when your heart is whole. Easy to overlook stuff before you've been broken.
Ain't gonna lie. Finding all this, even just loving yourself, and not beating yourself up, removing the me, the I, from everything, and still smiling and still being understanding when you just don't understand, still looking for all the good stuff--it ain't easy. Ain't ever gonna be easy to love a broken thing, let alone yourself.
Ain't gonna be pretty looking past the ugly black marks people have slashed out at you and building a bridge over it to step into their hearts, to see all they're tormented with, all their hurt, all their worries, all their losses. Yeah, it's hard to really, truly see someone when they've dug their claws into you. When they've broken you.
And even after you've burned a bridge, how do you lift the pieces and build another bridge back into the blackened, smoldering space it left in your heart, and their's?
Clouds break open, that's how a sunset is made.
Light breaks through darkness, that's how day comes.
Sometimes you gotta break just to let the beauty in.
Yeah, I get that. I got the breaking part down, girl.
What now? Just wait for the light to get in? For the light to appear? For the beauty to make itself out of your hurt? Yeah, and what about the simmering, festering hurt that reigns un-medicated, bleeding inside you from the open wound ripping you from the inside out? What about all the terror that so easily turns to hate inside you? Yeah, what about that?
Do you have answers for that?
That Ann girl says you find healing in the sacrifice. I'm sitting there, reading her words, nodding, and inside I'm this painful knot because all I can think about is all the times I've given and listened to the complaints, the hard things, went unnoticed because the world just takes, went on thankless, and all I can think about is how it still hurts. When I've loved someone to death, poured all I've had, and still they turn away, unmoved, unchanged, undisturbed by the waves of my love--what then?
What about when you wake up in the morning and you just don't feel like you have anything to give?
What about when you have given and it still hurts?
What about that, huh?
I try not to think about hurting, about being stuck, run-over, abandoned. Broken. Yeah, cause I know we're all broken, I can see they're all broken just like me, and why don't they see me back? So I just try not to think about any of it. 'Cause I am the Great Avoid-er of Conflict. So I think about Christmas.
Once, I felt sad about growing up and losing the magic of opening presents on Christmas. But I'm not sad about that any more. Because giving presents--watching the loved ones' faces light up with joy--that's even better than getting.
Girl, what IS the matter with you?
Whenever we think of sacrifice--oh, but we don't like to think of sacrifice. It's conflict in your free-spirit, breathless, beautiful life. It usually hurts, that's why.
We don't usually think about Time when we think about sacrifice. Sacrifice brings up negative connotations--blood. Wounds. Tears. Hurt. Exhaustion. Broken. Everywhere. Just broken.
It's never usually Time. It's never usually handing over a present. It's never usually infused with memories of love. Never just plain thoughtfulness of just one single person. Never usually their name on your lips, the way they hung their head in stress. Never.
Girl, even you said to yourself when things got rough, your very own words, your own gospel to yourself: "Whenever I'm having a hard time loving people, I want to set out to take my yarn and knitting needles and make them something."
Wasn't it you who decided to do just that? Make something and give it away?
Isn't that sacrifice, too?
Giving and loving and presenting.
Time. Your most precious sacrifice.
Time you could have spent binge-watching that one TV-show that required no brain power whatsoever. Time you could have spent sleeping. Time you could have spent whiling away hours online, searching Pinterest for some beautiful distraction. Time you could have spent searching the fridge for something to stuff your face with. Time you could have spent scanning the aisles in Wal-Mart for that perfect bar of dark chocolate you would snarf down later.
Yeah, that time you would have spent on yourself? Time you would have spent hurting, time you would have spent crying, time you would have spent over-thinking, time you would have spent listing all the reasons to hate, time you would have spent running away from all those people because they didn't reach your expectations--Think of someone else. Use the Me Time and turn it into the Love Time. List all the reasons to love.
Those times you fixed up some boxes with string and a card and gave some joy away, weren't those some of the best days of your life? Just to see the happy smiles? Just to hear the joy? Just to give?
Sacrifice doesn't have to be bloody. It doesn't have to hurt.
It can just be five minutes more listening to that girl who has absolutely nothing to say, but just needs someone to listen.
How come you forget so quickly, girl?
Don't run away from people just because they don't reach your expectations. Sit with them in all their broken, and share your brokenness together.
Hear this good, girl:
Loving broken things is giving your heart away so maybe other broken things can find a home there. So maybe the broken things will fill up with other broken hearts.
Sacrifice, being broken, IS THE SIMPLE, UNADULTERATED ACT OF YOUR TIME SPENT IN THOUGHT OF ANOTHER INSTEAD OF YOURSELF.