When I was a little girl…I was absolutely positive that EVERYONE is good. I have learned that this may be the source of my greatest heartbreaks in life. When my parents would try to teach me to stay away from danger…I just thought they were cynical….I figured there was no danger, just misunderstood people. I decided that I would make it sort of a life purpose to prove that everyone is good…even me.
Well, then I became an adult….and lots of things happened. I made a lot of mistakes…I saw a lot of things that jaded me. I experienced a lot of things that jaded me. For a while, I came to believe that maybe everyone was bad….including me.
That didn’t last for long…because who wants to go around thinking that everyone is bad?
What did last, however….was a new “mature” belief that there are good people and there are bad people. Many a tear has been cried over trying to figure out what is good and what is bad and who is good and who is bad…..you know, all of that sorting that we spend so much of our life doing. The hardest part has been the tireless working to be able to deserve being in the good pile. I never knew if I made it or not…but man, I tried…I tried and I tried and I tried. I wanted to be in the good pile.
Even more exhausting has been trying to figure out what and who are in the bad pile. That feels so yucky…..so, what I learned to do is just hide out so I didn’t have to be judged and I didn’t have to do any judging either. I ran out of energy trying to be good all the time. I ran out of energy and endurance to try to do enough to make it every minute of every day into the good pile…..so I was sure that I was gonna be in the bad pile if I couldn’t work so hard to be in the good pile.
Here’s what I want you to know about this. A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a place that I have not been able to sit for a very long time without feeling anguish and sadness and out of place feelings….somewhere that I used to feel very comfortable and is if I belong there….but then a place where I soon felt jaded and maybe even tricked when I found out that maybe all of it could never possibly be in the good pile….including me. I want you to think of being in a group where you haven’t felt comfortable and imagine yourself there. Maybe it is because you have unfinished business with the people, maybe it is because you have judged them to be in one pile or another, maybe it is because you feel that they have judged you. Well…..it occurred to me that I was there and I was feeling completely at ease and comfortable, happy and content and loving everyone in the room. I asked myself….”I wonder why I feel okay here now”….and the answer that came to me was……”I used to think that everyone was good…..and now I know better.”
Now…let me explain myself…..
There is just about nothing that causes me more pain than disappointing people…especially people I love and admire. But……I do it all the time. I find that I disappoint people pretty consistently…and it is because of the nature of my work and what I do, lots of people think that I am good, and that I am good all the time. I feel that I disappoint others with how very normal I am, how I greatly lack any superhuman powers, how unsocial I am much of the time, how unorganized and frazzled I can be…and forgetful……how I am not overjoyed and inspiring and vivacious and entertaining 100% of the time…in fact, not even 50% of the time. How tender my heart is and how I can’t really take a lot of negativity, drama or hustle and bustle and how those things kinda make me shut down and find the nearest hiding place. I am really just a normal girl trying to get through the day and trying to spread some light where there is darkness….I am madly in love with my family and my close friends and I love to create. I love to work. I love to make things pretty. I love to share what I know and what has been helpful and healing to me. I love humankind….so very much. But I am no superhero.
I am not all good….but I am also not all bad. And sometimes, when we think someone is all good and we find out that they are not….we feel blindsided and let the pendulum swing completely the other way and think that they are all bad.
….and sometimes we want to punish them for that, and throw them in the bad pile…..because we might feel tricked or something…but then, looking back, they weren’t ever the ones who told us that they are in the good pile, we just put them there.
I have done it. I have had it done to me. I am done with all of it. We all have so much good and we also struggle with some things that may seem bad to others……when we put others on a pedestal that they never asked to be on, and then punish them for falling off of it….nobody wins…and it causes such tremendous pain for everyone involved. I think this is where forgiveness comes in….
What if there wasn’t a good pile or a bad pile? What if we all just gave each other a lifetime grace card like a dear friend actually gave to me…where she told me that she knows my heart, loves my heart, and not matter what mistakes I make, I am already forgiven…….do you know that I wept for hours after that? The relief of it?? What if we approached life KNOWING that everyone is going to make some big mistakes….and that when they did, they weren’t automatically going to get thrown out to the trash pile?
Well, a few weeks ago…I decided that I am just going to give everyone a lifetime grace card. I can not tell you how the world has changed. It’s funny when we make shifts like this how we look around and think that everyone else has changed because of the enormous changes it makes in our lives…..but that all that has really happened is that we, ourselves have changed…we’ve changed our thoughts, changed our hearts and changed our minds. And…..all that time we were thinking that everyone else needs to change, it is really us that needed to change. THAT IS CALLED FREEDOM.
This doesn’t mean that we have to have everyone in our lives. I have lived long enough to know that we are not all perfect matches for each other…in fact, sometimes we are a terrible match for someone else when where we are in our lives does not mix well with where they are in their lives…but we certainly don’t need to punish each other for that….or put each other into piles. It is okay when relationships are temporary or nonexistent. It is okay when we need to make strong boundaries to protect ourselves from weak spots that might get wounded. That is our responsibility and makes us responsible, healthy adults. Boundaries are good!
None of us are all good and none of us are all bad…and here’s the thing………it is NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER our job to decide what pile someone needs to go in anyway. (if those made up piles were even real) What a horrible, heavy, excruciating job that would be…so let’s stop doing it! I love God and I trust God and I know that God is the only one who knows every single thing….the rest of us just need to give each other a lifetime grace card….for our own happiness and health….and for world peace, for reals.
I am going to ask you to please never believe that I am all good. (and I won’t believe that about you either) And I am also going to ask you to please never believe that I am all bad. (and I won’t believe that about you either) I promise you that if you think I am all good, I will disappoint you. I don’t want to disappoint you ever, it hurts to disappoint!! I promise you that if you think that I am all bad, I am going to surprise you with the goodness that will come out of me from time to time. I am asking for a grace card. And….I am giving you one….a lifetime grace card.
Finally….I want to post something here that I also posted on my personal FB page, in case I missed anyone…and I really mean all of this….
I just want to say that if I have ever done anything to hurt you, I hope you can forgive me. And…I want you to know that no matter who you are and what we have been through together…I forgive you….and again, I hope you can forgive me. And I love you. And I will work very hard to do better. And I mean that. I think we all have missed out on a lot of wonderful times and wonderful years with people we love because of old grudges, etc. I am soooo done with that. (and lots of times we don’t even know about those old grudges so that is why I am posting this publicly) THAT is my Christmas wish….and my Christmas goal….and my life goal. -okay…onward. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
If there was one wish I could make…this would be it. That we do away with the piles and we just give each other some grace.
Sending you all SO MUCH LOVE and the courage to GO WHERE THE PEACE IS.