Thursday, February 13, 2020

TbT ~ Seek and Ye Shall Find

When you start looking for perfection, you may eventually come to the realization that very little in life that is perfect. Even those things that we label as being perfect, often have flaws in them that we call “unique imperfections” as a way of still keeping that word “perfect” in them still. If you were to really look at the Mona Lisa, you might find a stray brush stroke that seems out of place, but adds to the mystique of her smile. If you looked at the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the imperfect fading and inescapable cracks that have come with time now add a precious awareness of the effort that was spent painting the ceiling and the painstaking methods that Michelangelo took to create an irreplaceable canvas of love. Did he think at the time that it would last as long as it has? Or was he aware of the fragility of life? If he knew that it would last for centuries and be treasured and admired by millions, do you think he might have painted it differently?

As we grow older, we find that our memories of events, people, or things sometimes change because our perception has changed. What we might have called the worst day in our lives when we were 21, will suddenly become the best day, or a “perfect” day when we are 41 or 61. It changes because we can see more of the pieces that fit together in that puzzle of life.

In 2006, five years after the divorce to my abuser, he reached out to tell me that I had been the love of his life and we should have had children together like I had wanted to. This from the man who verbally, emotionally, psychologically and occasionally sexually abused me for almost eleven years before I found the courage and self-esteem to leave him. I had in the early days of our relationship talked about having a child together, but by our second anniversary would pray each month that I wasn’t pregnant. I took my birth control pills religiously because I knew that one day I was going to have to run. I didn’t want any reason for him to hunt me down and kill me as he threatened to do if we ever had children and I tried to leave. While we were together, I never seemed to be able to do anything right. I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t clean. I was too fat. I was ugly. I repulsed him. I was stupid and “a brain sucker would starve to death on your head” (an actual quote of what he would say to me at times). I would be a horrible mother. I read books too fast. I didn’t know how to decorate.

My memories of him never changed, but apparently, his of me did.

When we slow down long enough to look back at how we got here, the road is always so much clearer. Would I change any of those “imperfect” days? No. The pain of those days, the hurt, and the lessons … were all just growing pains to make me who I am today. They prepared me to be this person, right here, right now, to be more compassionate, more understanding, more forgiving, and so far from being perfect that it is what has made me a better wife and a better Christian.

If we spend our days searching for perfection that doesn’t exist, don’t we waste what time we have with those that we love? When we realize that our time on earth is short, will we give ourselves a V-8 smack on the head and say “Gosh darn, I wish I had found that perfect person … had that perfect life … built the perfect house … drove the perfect car….” Or will you think, and pray, “Oh, please forgive me for my wrongs. I wish I had apologized for more, hurt fewer people, loved and forgave more.”

Forgiveness isn’t just ours to receive; it is also something that is ours to give. Love isn’t just ours to receive; it is also something that is ours to give. The two of them are so intertwined that it is impossible to love without forgiving, and impossible to forgive without loving.

When I finally learned that, I was on my face at the bottom of a very dark place in my life. I thought that I had nothing left. I had nothing to take, and nothing to give. I didn’t think I had any reason to go on. I had lost everything that I thought was important in life.

It was only then that I found out what was really important, and what perfect love and forgiveness were.

2 comments:

  1. Perfection? In people? Not a happening thing.
    I am so glad that you were able to escape your abuser and to finally find a better place (mentally, physically, emotionally).
    I find that I am much, much better off if I do my best to avoid the negative emotions, and certainly avoid dwelling in them.

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  2. Such a deep truth. And it is possible he didn't forget, he knew he had a treasure, and wanted to convince you that you were rubbish so you wouldn't have the courage to run, believing no one else would have you. Some abusers play that game, as i am sure you know.

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