Who I Was and Who I Am

On this late night many things are on my mind. Things involving my past and the person I am today. Looking back at just two years ago, the change of my understanding of love is astounding to me. My aptitude to give love and love people despite the hurt they inflict on me is something I didn’t have before. The loving and sweet person, some of you know today, back then was a slightly different person two years ago. There are many things different about me today as compared to two years ago, but most of it boils down to truly learning what Love is. It’s incredible how I can still love the girl who spread rumors about me and would even likely take her back and be friends again if she would talk to me and try and reconcile with me. This is not something that just happened overnight this willingness to love someone like that. They say suffering teaches us lessons we have yet to learn and helps in our sanctification. And there is truth to that statement.

There is a quote by Mother Theresa which basically states love hurts. Loving someone is not easy, especially since we are called to love like God. This means loving when they hate you or are angry at you for stupid reasons. It means loving them and caring about them even when they ridicule you or make fun of you. God reconciles all people if they have a true heart and are guilty for what they have done. Love is painful because despite someone hurting you, you don’t harden your heart. Your heart is still open to love them. It’s still warm, and not ice cold to them. You haven’t turned away from them completely and still have hope in your heart for them.

They also say forgiving is hard, and I will be first to vouch for that statement. The more I reflected on forgiveness this semester and what makes, at times, some things easier to forgive than others, I found was if I had an understanding of why someone did what they did. Understanding in my perspective became key to forgiveness, because in the end everyone is just trying their best and most of the time trying to do what they think is right. I can’t say I have met a person who didn’t have a piece of goodness in them. I would even contend Adolf Hitler still had a shred of goodness in him after all the terrible things he did. There is some goodness in everyone and when you understand they are not doing the things they are doing, most of the time, because they are bad or evil then it makes it easier to forgive. You have this understanding of how a deed transpired and how the options were not black and white. Basically to restate my key point, forgiveness seems to be tied to understanding and understanding helps one forgive another.

I have found the person I am today tends to cherish the good in people and, sometimes to a fault, try and look for that good in a person and give the person the benefit of the doubt. Only more study of my faith and more guidance from God will tell me if I am on the right track in following Jesus and his steps. One thing I am learning at present is the reality of who I am is not contingent on others thoughts or words. I am what I am, and someone’s skewed perspective of me does not change who I am or what is true. What false things people think about me doesn’t matter. What people say or think doesn’t mean it’s who I actually am. This is especially true if the person is not my friend. Wounds and reproves from a friend can be trusted. And from my experience with rumors, I have learned to get to know a person and know the real them, before listening or giving heed to things being said about them.

To wrap this up, the only thing I can say for sure is there is more growing to come and I pray God gives me great patience on my journey to be what I am called to be.

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Words Unsaid

Today I attended a funeral of a young girl named Nicole. I knew her from high school and we had played soccer together on the same teams for a few years. Watching the people there at the Lutheran church, I found I began to wonder how many people had left things unsaid and how those thoughts and feelings were never to be known by Nicole nor Nicole’s by others. It really reinforced my philosophy of never leaving things unsaid.

This philosophy was something I cultivated with my friendship with a certain boy I was good friends with. He was a sweet, caring, and different from other boys I had met. He seemed to always have sweet things to say and didn’t seem afraid to express the good things he really felt. I don’t think he ever has or will leave anything unsaid about what good he thinks of a person and how they affect him. It wasn’t until later after we had somewhat parted that I realized his words to people and the way he acted had taught me a great lesson. It was through him that I adopted the philosophy of embracing what I felt and letting people know just how much they mean to me. Maybe this way of living can be considered true honesty because you hold none of the good things back.

Even though I hold this principle, I can’t help but think of others and how they don’t embrace this humanity and heart we have. Instead, I find most people hide it and never say simply “Hey, you mean you a lot to me and have changed my life and taught me to be a better person. You’re a really genuine person.” They keep it inside and never say what they feel and how having someone in their life affected them. I think that’s such a waste in a way. It’s like we walk around with masks on. Hiding behind them by leaving things unsaid and not revealing this innate commonalty we share of being human– having feelings, experiences, and growing. We all have it. why don’t we embrace it and remove the masks we wear?

Blessed Mother Teresa said,”We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love” and from my experience of having that boy, Brad, in my life the things he said would make me smile and show me sight from his eyes. Proverbs 16:24 says, “gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” We can love in small ways everyday by our words and especially with sharing our heart with a person about the good things they do and what we think of them. Now love is not just saying nice things, but is also a verb and needs action too, however I will touch on that sometime later in another post. From my perspective, it’s always been pleasing to my soul to make my friends smile and when I don’t leave things unsaid I’m able to show people their value. And the experiences and lessons you learned from that person also end up benefiting them by showing them how they have impacted your life. As a side note, using words is not the end all be all of showing love, there are many ways to show love. Sometimes words are not enough, and can be expressed through another outlet.

Basically my concluding thoughts are don’t stay quiet about how you feel. If you appreciate someone in your life tell them. If you are proud of someone tell them. If you are worried for someone say it. You have time now to say things and when they leave or die they will never know how you truly feel or saw in them and I think that’s such a shame. In addition, those words can be good encouragement for a person. Whether people want to admit it or not, words are a powerful thing. That also means it can go either way too with how you use your words, good or bad, so I’ll leave you with this, Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”