Day 2: I was hoping beyond hope that yesterday had worked. Hope is a funny thing - it's kind of like a younger sibling that wants you to play with them but they don't want to play what you are playing and you have no idea how to play what they want you to play. Sometimes, hope is a welcome distraction. Sometimes it's just painful and annoying. Today it was painful and annoying... But I was still holding on to the lesson that I learned yesterday... and a little bit of hope.
Today I did something as part of my challenge that I have tried to do for more than 15 years. There are people that come into our lives for a specific reason, but for the last 15 years I have had no idea why this particular person came along, other than to make me feel inadequate in every single way. And it's not accidental. It is the kind of meanness that is purposeful and designed to hurt.
If you are someone like me, someone who has a tendency to feel that if someone doesn't like you it is your fault and you must fix it immediately, then you know how this hurts. There is absolutely nothing, however, that I can do to make it work. It is never going to change. I tell myself over and over again that I have gotten past it; that it will be okay. I haven't gotten past it and it isn't okay.
So today, my act of service and sacrifice was to clean up after a meal that we had eaten at this person's house. It doesn't sound like a lot. But it is. You see, I have asked to help, if I can help, if there's anything I can do to help, for the last 15 years. And while the answer has always been no to me, the request is immediately directed to someone else.
This is dysfunction at its best.
In all honesty it was out of desperation that I did it. It was late in the day, I wasn't feeling well and I couldn't cop out. So I went in the kitchen, because I always hide out in the living room, and just did it. I scraped the dishes, I put them in the dishwasher, I washed the skillet. And she said not a word at all.
But I wasn't doing it for her. In all honesty, I wasn't doing it for me. I was doing it for that person in the past that used to love Christmas and everything about it. I was doing it for someone I used to be and someone I was hoping to be again. I was doing it to be better, not for myself, but for my Father and for the people that I love, for my husband and my son.
And then another piece of the puzzle slid into place. THAT should be my motivation for everything that I do. There should be no other catalyst. It should be for others and for Him. It should never be for me. I should have been clearing that table for 15 years whether it was wanted or not because that might have ministered or showed love with more conviction than any pointless gift I have given over the last 15 years.
But I do not show love to this person because I do not know how to show love to someone who does not want my love. I do not know how to sacrifice for someone who doesn't KNOW what they want me to sacrifice. I don't know the true nature of love, at 41 years of age, I have only picked up a stone from the continent that is love in brutal reality.
Love in brutal reality does not care what others perceive of it, because the very base of its function is completely unconcerned with the self. Love in brutal reality moves forward without the concern for offending, without the concern for judgment because people never judge what is at the base of love in brutal reality and love in brutal reality moves because of motive. But not the motive of the person, the motive of the Father through the person.
And I closed my heart long ago to love in brutal reality, or even the possibility of it. As human beings, we cannot bear the responsibility of that kind of love. I cannot bear the responsibility of that kind of love. I don't want to. But I can allow it to come from me, allow it to come through me. And that is what I should have been doing all of these 15 years. I've been shutting it off, shutting it down and ignoring it because I don't want to be hurt. Never mind that I would be serving as the appendage of the Great Healer... Never mind that it might have been necessary long ago to bring this person whatever joy they had remaining, before life completely drained it and misery became this person's ministry.
I lost the Christmas spirit because of my refusal to love, ALL. I refused to LOVE ALL, regardless. I thought I had the right to pick and choose. I don't. That is the lesson for today. REGARDLESS.