Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why we should all have a porch and use it.

People are resilient.  All of us are. Some more than others, yes, some of us fare a little better when tragedy strikes.  It depends on the tragedy, it depends on the sadness, it depends on the weight of the matter, the closeness of one person to another. Some dodge it, some go mad, some bury it down, some drink it away.  As I mentioned previously, some play Candy Crush until they see it in their sleep, and yet can still not pass level 45 because I am really not that good at the damn game.

I have two people that will tell me the truth in my life when it hurts to hear it and I hate them (I love them). My mother and my Erin, these scoundrels have listened to my whine, my struggle, my anger, my pain, my stupid and mean words, and my tears. Those they have watched fall down my pale cheek or heard the pathetic sniffle through the phone.  Public place, private place, walking on the city sidewalks, at an Olive Garden over many, many breadsticks.  And though sometimes they get angry with me and utter nasty words under their breath, like any good friend or family should do, they also put me in my place.  Wham.  Put in place.

Who really wants to hear "You knew it all along." Yes. I did. Thank you very much I knew it all along but do  you think I want to admit that I was fooling myself? Playing pretend? They said it with love and kindness and with much better words even though it didn't feel that way.

It is honestly super annoying and I should really stop telling them everything and again that's why I hate them (I love them).

 And I said right. You are right. So right. As I said it, the weight felt like it might drop through me and carry me all the way down but then it suddenly lifted and left.  Not all of it, a lot of it.  A few pieces of shrapnel remain lodged in the heart, the bone. I will have to either live with them or they will come free, too.  This analogy probably doesn't work because shrapnel stuck inside of you is probably really bad. Hey, if I surgeon can leave a scalpel in someone's stomach and no one ever knows until they get an x ray seventeen years later, I can have a few pieces of shrapnel and make it out alive.

The funny and terribly, horribly wrong thing about life is we only have our one perspective. Our one little view from our front porch, and the world is how we see it - same fence, same trees, same people walking down the sidewalk, it is all we know (and all we like). Everything is this way.  The trouble is when you let people in, let them know what it really looks like from your porch, or your own insane thought process, you will get some push back, you will hit some walls head on.  Sometimes people just stare. Some people will run away.  Some will rock back and forth on your porch and drink a sweet tea with you, curious, hesitant, learning.

This is how you become kind. This is how you love. This is how you have heart.

Jesus is the great counselor because he knows everything we know, feels everything we feel, was human in each and every way we are human.  Actually he is the only human with fully complete empathy.  Empathy is true understanding of another's situation and he has it for us.  He has sat on everyone's porch and drank their sweet tea.  I really, really, really wish Jesus could sit on my balcony overlooking the alley and drink sweet tea with me (OK, OK, a glass of wine).  While he can't... exactly... do this, I believe that he knows what it is like to put his feet up and hear my story, see with me eyes.

What is weird and kind of cool about the Christian faith is that we spend our whole life trying to see with his eyes instead of ours. When we learn about how Jesus can see us and the world, our vision should start to change.  Maybe it is more like Jesus glasses.  No, I think it is our actual vision.  Changed through our heart, changed through how many porches we sit on.

The best people I know have sat on porch after porch and listened, and learned, and let themselves see the world in a different way, just because.  You might hear and see some things you never wanted to see or believe, and that is exactly the point.  There is one rule: that you must consider new truth once you hear it; and let it change you if it must. Just like me.  Fine, I will listen, I will let you love me in this profound way, in the best way a person can love another.  As long as we're rocking, we're drinking sweet tea, and the wind is blowing and we have to close our eyes to keep out the bright sun when it escapes the clouds, we'll be all right.


Donna Boucher said...

So well written Emma.
I will be kinder.
Love always.

Life with Kaishon said...

This is so good Emma. Perfect analogy with the porch : ).
Laughed about the shrapnel in the heart because I do think that might kill, but who knows.
I will pray for you this morning.
I hope you can sit on your porch with someone today. I will visit my Mama on Mother's Day and sit on her porch with her.
Moms are really kind of wonderful, aren't they?

Erin Wawok said...

I reread this today and got more out of it. You know, I really thought I was more crafty with my conversation- that I had hidden some of my opinions about the things you've said to me. But I think you figured me out anyway, haha. Unlike your mom, I don't think I'll try to be kinder because I like being edgy :) I have been in your shoes and still don't think I'm over it, but I can see now that my pain wasn't/isn't for nothing because I now have things to pass on. Maybe your heart will heal faster than mine has. I don't think the heart was meant to heal all the way, or at least, it doesn't quite look the same when it heals. Don't look too hard for things to get back to the way they once were because you'll be looking for that forever. Just learn how to function with your shrapnel and in time you'll realize it stopped throbbing and is not a dull ache that you don't even recognize because you're so used to it. Somehow it will make you stronger and more capable for the next round of hardship, and it won't be as cliche as my sentence sounds :)

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