Monday, December 01, 2014

No Beauty in Indifference

I clearly remember the day when after years and years of running, I finally stopped, turned around, and faced the God I feared, the God I hated, the God I loved but was certain hated me. I was 24 years old and had already lived and survived three lifetimes, I knew hell, and hell knew me.

I remember the moment I put my nose to the carpet of a little country church, warm tears dripping from the tip, darkening the fibers as they fell. I sincerely prayed for the first time since I was a little girl. I didn’t ask for blessings, or prosperity, or health, or love, or proof of existence, or even a miracle. With every fiber of my being, I asked God to open my eyes and ears, so that I could see something different in humanity. All I could see was the ugliness. All I knew was how to survive monsters, to look for the danger in their words and actions, to assess my risk, to read the body language of liars, crooks, thieves, and predators. I needed to believe in goodness, gentleness, kindness, trust, and love. I needed to see the good potential in people, to be able to see God.

There wasn’t a flash of light or the sound of a trumpet call, but somehow over the years I began to see and hear differently. I still saw the ugliness, the risk, the danger, the lies… but I also saw the potential for goodness, the motive between the lines, love colored with hope and sewn with faith. I begin to love humanity even as we writhed in the midst of our ugliness.

What breaks my heart is how cruel we are to one another. Cruelty doesn’t always come from monsters. The greatest cruelty I’ve ever experienced didn’t come from the hand of a violent predator, but the gentle hand of indifference. To not care, to not feel, to not fear, to not love is a great cruelty. It’s just as cruel as being overbearing in narrow-minded views, excluding those who may think differently or outside their boxed ideas – this includes all religious, political or social mediums. The way humanity treats each other is both great and tragic. I see and hear the good and the bad, love and hate, and the cruelest of them all is indifference. There is no beauty in indifference.

Love me or hate me, but at least feel something. The cruelest act I’ve ever experienced is to simply be forgotten. I seem to be easily forgotten, dismissed, passed over as if I don’t exist. God tells us to love one another. That doesn’t mean overlook our ugliness and blindly cling to false truth and allowing the people we love to continually abuse us – but to see both our sins and our goodness, to see the truth and the lies, and then in the face of that truth choose to love, choose to hope, choose to see the potential for greatness. Forgive. Not forget… never forget, and sometimes walk away if needed, but forgive.

The thing I love most about my friends are not what they do, or what they have done, but what I know they’re capable of doing and becoming, and their capacity to love. We all have sins, failures, attitudes, hurts, triggers, scars, and walls. ALL of us. None are perfect or perfectly good. But with love – all things are possible. That is why I choose to love, to hope, to believe what my natural eyes can’t see or my ears can’t hear. It’s why I still hope when people push me away or put up their walls to block me out, and continue to love them even when they stop loving me. Yes, I walk away, but that doesn’t mean I stopped seeing them for the beautiful creatures, the beautiful, complex, deeply layered human beings that they are comprised.

My faith in God has been shaken, especially these last few years, and especially facing mortality. While I can’t always see and hear who, what, where, when and why… I am still that same young woman with her nose pressed in the carpet and opening her heart to her god, wanting something real, something more and bigger than what she was capable of doing on her own.

So, yes… I’m peculiar, strange, different. I’m a sinner like anyone else. God granted me my prayer. I can see and hear beyond the image, the masks of flesh we project and think protects us, covers our sins, hides our vulnerabilities, and colors our beauty. It was so much easier to hate humanity. Loving them is the hardest of all. Loving them when they don’t love me back is downright cruel. I wish I could close my eyes and cover my ears and go back into the darkness. Instead, Beautiful… these tears now fall for you. I wish you could see what I see and hear what I hear and know… what a beautiful soul you truly are. My last hope is that my god sees me in like manner.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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