I heard off my own lips the new words that have been so graciously and faithfully offered to me, "you have a good heart, and we see it."
Her shame answered me. Her guilt. More old words.
"It is your good heart that feels the pain of what you've done; it is your good heart that is turning itself in; it is your good heart that wants a new way," I said and I've heard said to me.
It's funny how you can say good things when you aren't feeling good at all. Praise God.
I've been having a tough time lately. In fact, I was sort of a beast today (not in a good way).
It's amazing how fast the old ways come back: how quickly the darts start flying and the earthquakes shake me and all the sudden I am back to the old scared, lonely, self-protecting, proud, offended, balled up self.
I hate this self. I hear words coming out of my mouth and I hate them. I feel anger and anxiety and arrogance and violence rising up in me and I hate it and I can't stop it and I'm naming myself names and telling myself lies: nothing lasts, no one cares, you were tricked, you can't trust, you are alone, you are bad, wrong, worthless, and everyone knows it, or they soon will.
All day I lived like this.
Then I came home and let Hashbrown, my dog, out of his crate.
He grabbed his yellow blanket in his mouth, whole backside waving in greeting. He leaned against my legs. He waited for me to start walking, led me into the living room. He rolled onto his back on the rug, looked at me and waited for his belly rub. He licked my hand. This lasted a long time.
If I could go back, today, I would have given myself a time out. I would have been kinder to myself. I would have asked myself what I was scared of, and I would have thought about the old words and the new words. I would have told myself I have a good heart, even when I'm being a monster, and that it is this good heart that will melt when my puppy licks my hand. It is a good heart that repents. It is a good heart that remembers and is grateful. I would have taken a moment to realize I wasn't okay, that I needed to ask for a hug, a break, some more coffee and a quiet room. This is the new thing: not perfect, faithful. Faithful to return, to God, to others, to myself.
"Keep me gentle with myself. Keep me kind in disappointment." -Kathleen Norris