Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Opposite of Hate Can Be . . .

My soul has blistered with hate these last few weeks, an intense hate that both overwhelms and surprises me on alternating days. Hate bubbles to the surface quickly and unbidden, before other more rational emotions can take control.

Not only does my soul bear hate blisters, it's also trying to recover from a deeply inflicted wound.

While I wish I were weathering these injuries better (and faster), I do see progress. The problem with the wound is that I'm not completely in control of its healing. I flush it out and smother it with soothing balm and bandage it, and then it scabs over and I feel better--for a day or two--until events outside my control rip the healing scab away, once more revealing the gaping hole beneath.

It's not as deep as it used to be, but nights like tonight still hurt. Nights where I'm unkindly and unnecessarily punished, purely out of spite.

These types of wounds only heal through effort. Prayer. Mindfulness. Discussion. Sympathy. Daily Focus. Work.

And also, as I'm finding out, through forgiveness. Forgiveness of someone who neither seeks it nor feels they need it takes gut-wrenching, character-building work. I am very far from a place where I feel I've reached complete forgiveness, but I am a little closer now than I was a month ago. One path I've found to this hard-to-access forgiving section of my soul is the path of compassion.
Compassion for myself. Compassion for countless innocent others tangled in the situation without their consent. And hardest of all to find--compassion for those who need it most and warrant it least. This is the life lesson I have to learn these days, and the only path available is the rocky one before me.

It's still going to be a long journey, but God only expects me to keep moving towards forgiveness, and the wound may take months to completely heal. I have to be ok with that.

But the blisters . . . I refuse to let the blisters take a permanent place within me, even with hate consistently being slung in my direction.

The salve for these blisters comes from a surprising source. The opposite of hate in this situation isn't love, ironically. At least it isn't yet. The opposite of this hate is actually . . .


Pity soothes the blisters these days. I don't know if pity will be the final salve, but it lessens the pain as the blisters disappear. Maybe one day that pity will be replaced with some more admirable quality, but for today, it is enough. The blisters still erupt just as quickly, but they no longer burden me for days, and the flare-ups are increasingly less intense. That's progress.

I have taken the high road in this. I have nothing to hide and nothing of which I'm ashamed. I tell the story unabashedly withholding no detail, and this process surprisingly generates even more pity within me.

Two wounds. One constant and deep will take time to repair. One quick to emerge is becoming easier to tame.

Baby steps. But baby steps forward.

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