I got a really good lesson recently. I am human….go figure. I, without a doubt, know that I have a strong personality and I still find myself having to stop fighting just to be right. I have to force myself to think, “Do I want to die on this hill?” It has lead to me biting my tongue more often, but there are times that I just don’t stop myself soon enough.
One of the things that will cause me to be less than loving in my response is when another person’s tone of voice is condescending. When I hear a, “what do you know” type of attitude my hackles are raised and I respond in a less than appropriate manner. It’s taken me a lot of work to reign this attitude in. Growing up in my home my best was never good enough. I couldn’t try and not succeed, in fact I had to excel, which led to me many times not even trying.
I have stepped out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways since leaving my home, some 30 years ago, simply because of my husband’s personality which has forced me to be less of an introvert, but also because that still small voice wouldn’t leave me alone and I have found myself in places such as Africa and China.
Now I sit here believing that my inability to quelch my right fighting has lead me to a place that I haven’t been in a long time, or least since living with my parents. I am in a place where I know that quite possibly I have lost something that I enjoyed doing and loved doing it with the people who were involved. It hurts and it’s where I find myself being very uncomfortable with my own humanity.
This one is going to leave a mark.
Nineteen years ago today I was 2,000 physical miles away and what I thought was a lifetime from my graduation in 1984. I was raising two little boys who weren’t quite 4 yet and trying to navigate married with a hefty dose of motherhood. Cell phones were not the huge thing that they are now, but my oh so elegant flip phone rang and my mom was on the other end. I was a bit panicked hearing her voice because we usually only used cell phones for emergencies. She asked me where I was and I said I had been shopping for clothes for the boys as they were growing so fast. She told me to turn on the radio because a shooting had happened at Columbine. That was the day that 13 souls were lost and as an alumni I lost a piece of my innocence.
Yes, I went to Columbine. I graduated in 1984 almost 15 years before two young men went on a rampage and killed 13 people, wounded 20 others and eventually killed themselves. I had only lived in Colorado for 5 years and moved back to Pennsylvania, where I was originally from, two years after graduating. My high school years had a huge impact on my life and I treasured my time at Columbine. In the time it took for those two young men to slaughter those 13, a piece of what I had thought was a safe and comforting place had been taken and as I said my naiveté had been stripped away.
It’s still hard when people talk about what high school they graduated from and they turn to you and you say, “Columbine” and the gasps and the, “THAT Columbine?” is what comes next. Yes, THAT Columbine. The place is not evil. The principle Mr. Frank DeAngelis, the community and the alumni worked diligently to help remove the stain that colored responses when the name was mentioned. April 20th became a day of service, where we were steadfast in stretching out our hands to those who needed to heal and it helped us all in the process.
However, today I am angry. I, like the many other alumni, are angered at the March for Lives movement that have co-opted a day when the Columbine community comes together to heal just a little bit more, for their political and fame garnering agenda. Parkland Florida students who admittedly were bullies themselves are protesting on the anniversary of Columbine. Let’s be honest it has NOTHING to do with healing or change and everything to do with a political agenda and what will get them the most publicity.
I have to work not to let my anger become vengeful and move from righteous indignation. Go march on Washington DC where any change you want to affect will have to come from, check your true motivations and take a hard look at your heart if you really want things to be different, but don’t take away the modicum of peace that a community has worked for to further your agenda.
Years ago I wrote something similar when Sandy Hook occurred and I have resurrected it at times. Today I revised it after reviewing my post from yesterday.
You have chosen to remove Me from, just about, every place where I can most certainly be of service. You have turned away from Me because you can do so well on your own. However, when a day comes that tests you or if you are a believer, tests your faith, you ask Me, “Where were You God?” I’ll tell you where I was…..I held the hand of the little girl as she lay in a hospital taking her last breath and whispered to her that everything would be OK and that she would be with Me soon. I wrapped my arms around the mother who lost her only child to a violent act and held her while she cried. I strengthened the resolve and provided a way of escape while a man battled temptation and then I watched and placed a hedge of protection around those who protect you and the freedoms you enjoy, those who will face down evil in a country that is not their own, on a street where they fear the next person they encounter will be the one to end their lives, or who run into a burning building to save the family pet.
Yes, I have watched, my heart breaking as a man who is unstable carry out a horror that resided in his head and I made sure that he took only those whom I needed home. I have watched as a young girl took back her will and made the choice to stick a needle in her arm for the last time, and I cried bitter tears as one of Mine chose to come home before My plan for them was completed.
Now in your infirmities and fear you are finally looking to Me and asking everyone to pray. Why now? Why not yesterday, why not tomorrow? But this panic and want for comfort will fade and again you will only remember Me when it gets hard, or you will rail at Me when you don’t understand My plan.
Evil exists in the world you have created and yet many blame Me for the choices of man, wanting Me to stop what you have done. I have asked many times over that you come to Me of your own free will and yet you refuse. You scoff and complain that I don’t exist, that I should not be allowed in the places I can do the most good. My only Son’s birth shall not be displayed because, “not everyone believes in that stuff,” and forget mentioning Me in mixed company because someone might be offended. Then a reminder of the barbarity of the human race, inhumanity is displayed, or corruption begins to brew, and you ask Me “Where are You?” I am here watching and waiting for you to come to Me and making sure that no matter how bad it gets, you can go on.
I have found it incredibly hard to write as of late. Having moved and trying to put my house in order has taken up a lot of my patience and a lot of my time. I have also been not feeling up to par. I thought it was stress, but this is becoming a real issue and is wearing me out. Then there is the scariest thing…..
In 2013 I had major back surgery. I had gotten to the point of having to use either a walker or a scooter to get around because my back had gotten so bad that my legs would randomly stop working. I saw an excellent specialist and I became the owner of two rods 4 screws and three cadaver discs. It was a long recovery, but afterward I was so grateful that I could walk again even if there were twinges of pain it was nothing.
Then comes the big move. I was feeling some pain off and on and had some difficulty doing the tasks that usually came naturally, but being overweight and having to pack up a whole house was what I thought was the main contributor to the problem. Now the boxes are primarily moved in and while I am still overweight the pain is increasing at an alarming rate and I will admit, I am scared.
I have had to sincerely focus on Philippians 4:6-9, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” to just get by lately. When you are in pain it is hard to find that for which to be thankful. I am thankful that for now I can still walk, I am thankful that the pain is not overwhelming, I am glad that my husband is understanding and helps all he can, I am thankful that no matter what happens with my back I am breathing and able to enjoy my family and our new house. I have struggled to find the peace of God, but I know it’s there and while it has been fleeting moments there at least have been moments.
I will make an appointment with the specialist as soon as I can, but I am anxious Lord, help me to focus on the steps I need to take to lessen the pain and not drown out your still small voice.
What do you do when all you did was try and offer a little comfort and maybe a different perspective on looking at a situation and all you get back is hate and anger? I got a belly full of it today and it was completely undeserved.
A fellow believer mentioned that her parent had cancer and a brain tumor and was going to be having surgery of which he had a 50% chance of survival. I know how it can be so easy to focus on the 50% that means death, my mom was very ill while I was growing up and I lived with the thought that the next heart attack could be her last. That was extremely hard for a young girl to live with. Imagine being 7 years old and your mother falls on the floor unconscious, you try everything you know to revive her, and your father is at work (no cell phones then) over 20 miles away. Or being 4 years old and the only way your mom can play with you is from her hospital bed in the middle of the living room. So I know sorrow, I know being scared and I know hurt, and now I am struggling with the mortality of my parents yet again, but yet I was the target of a really nasty reply to my message of focusing on the 50% chance of living and being concerned about his salvation because if he knows Jesus the battle is already won.
I was called a bully, that I obviously never learned that people go through these feelings in any psychology class. I was accused of finding people’s faults instead of sharing the good news of Christ like a good Christian would. It hurt! I didn’t think I did anything to deserve that emotional vomit. It was as if someone poured acid all over me because they were hurting.
This whole incident has really made me think how it feels when I lash out at those who don’t deserve it. I know we operate in a meat suit and it’s hard not to let emotions get the best of us, but to completely unload on someone who meant nothing but good and certainly no harm…..where is the love in that?
Now I get to lick my wounds, overhaul where my attentions will be today and try make sure that my words follow Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”