I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what love looks like. And how often that word carries with it the weight of a thousand definitions and reasons and complications. Too often we make love selfish, and wear it on our wrists like a fashion statement, when love is the most beautiful, astounding thing I have ever seen. Someone who is really attempting to live a life full of love–now that is truly a sight to behold, because once you really begin to try to love the way love should really happen, your heart becomes a wellspring. It’s indescribable.
I just think of the inside of a person who is learning to fight is a nighttime in summer. Within lies all the potential and greatness, floating around as lightening bugs, waiting for the moment they can pour out of their mouth and shine.
Last night I learned a powerful lesson. It was a difficult lesson, but I knew something was changing inside of me the moment I chose to find peace instead of anger at the position I had been placed in. Let me explain. I was working my job in retail and a woman that has been known to cause trouble in our store came in last night. Generally speaking, she’s downright mean and bitter. Nothing you say will calm her down or make her compliment you. She just gets a rise out of her harshness. I am definitely not one for confrontations. Especially from people I don’t know. Last night, she unloaded on me, big time. Her ranting and raving lasted for quite some time. But something inside of me screamed louder than anger and told me to bite my tongue, stand up for myself a little in a kind manner, and let it go.
After she left I was kind of overwhelmed. As the minutes ticked on, however, I wasn’t angry, I felt sorry for her. I had seen her in our store before. She looks lonely and miserable. And honestly, as I began to ponder the circumstances for her arrival last night, I began feeling regrettably empathetic towards her plight.
I have been addicted to watching the show Hoarders for quite a while. I quite enjoy psychology, and comprehending the reasons behind the way people behave when they have had difficult challenges in their life. One of the things that is a common theme in the reason why I have observed people hoarding is their desire to keep people out. They have been repetitively wounded in various ways for so long, that in their desperate attempt to deal with the pain, they hoard stuff that is useless to build barriers between themselves and other people. That at least the objects would love them always, that it would be there when they cried. That happiness could be found in another sack of papers or useless shirts. But no matter what they could somehow manage to find peace in something that couldn’t hurt them. It’s not that they didn’t want people in their life, because honestly most of the time the stars of these shows are so lonely you can see their breaking heart worn in the crooked way they smile. They are just so damn afraid of letting anyone in that could hurt them, that they feel keeping then out is the only way.
And this is exactly what I felt about this woman last night. It was like she had been wearing the weight of generations of pain and all of these traumatic things that had happened to her in the direction of her step, in the cut of her words, in the bite of her anger. There is one thing I have really learned these past few months, and it is that most of the time, that anger is all a front. It keeps the people out. Anger does a good job of scaring others to stay away. It’s a defense mechanism. It happens when we are afraid to see or deal with what we are capable of inside, when we don’t comprehend that healing can happen.
When I started thinking about the incident after, all I could do was be humbled by the prospect that she is still in the darkness with a blindfold, feeling around the cave. Something settled on my heart and made me feel stunningly aware that anger was not the appropriate response. Love will bring light. Pray for your enemies. Smile when it’s hard. And for goodness sakes, be brave. Love is never easy, but it’s worth it. I will probably not change her, but she changed me. Even if it was just because she was angry for the millionth time.
Like I say, there really is beauty in everything you see.
Until next time,