Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today is not that day...

Last week, in a post called "Nightmares", I wrote these words ~ "I have to be as honest as I can about who I am.  Spiders and zombies are scary.  False accusations, lies, judgment and rejection are scarier.  But do you know what I think is scarier than all of those things put together?  Losing myself, my voice, my relationship with God and my ability to trust, love, hope and dream in a confused, fearful, miserable people-pleasing cloud of self-protective dust and debris.

Now THAT would be a real nightmare!"

During the week, after I had posted "Nightmares", I had the privilege of spending time with some bright, intelligent young women.   One of the things that we talked about was how difficult it is to be true to our own "voices" when faced with pressure to be silent.  We are all bloggers, and we all have very different voices, beliefs, ideas and thoughts.   We also all face pressure, from outside of ourselves, to be something other than who we are, to please others.  This is a battle that I have been facing for as long as I can remember, and the one thing I wanted these special young ladies to know is that they can choose to "BE" regardless of the pressure not to be.  

Too often, we internalize the outside pressure to conform, until one day we realize that the voice whispering, "Be silent!  Shut up! Disappear!" is our own.  They say, "You're stupid,"  and we tell ourselves, "Be quiet!".  They say, "Stop talking about your religion, freak!"  and we whisper, "I need to shut up."  They say, "You're just too much!" and our inner voice cautions, "Be less..."

We cannot control what they say.  But we have total control over our own inner voices.  

Does this mean that, say we're talking about our blogging voices, that we never need to edit, to be careful, to delete?  No, of course we need to edit, to guard our words, and lots of times, to press the delete button.  But we need to set our own standards.  And then, honor them.

I delete blog drafts all the time.  It is important to me that I respect the privilege of having people read my thoughts.  There is a responsibility to writing publicly.  I have set boundaries for my blog, boundaries that come from my desires for the blog, my faith and beliefs, my standards.  Sometimes, I fail.  For that, there is forgiveness.  Sometimes I bend to outside pressure.  Again, forgiveness is a gift I receive with gratitude.  
Recently, I received news of some disturbing rumors concerning my mental health.  Someone from my past has been calling up members of my family, and trying to convince them that I am deeply disturbed, and that Grace is in danger while she is in my care.  To be honest, my first reaction was fear.  This was bigger than the standard gossip that I am used to.  It is darker.  It crosses a line.  It's purpose is to separate  me from my family, and to prod them into trying to distance my daughter from me.  For this mom, there isn't a hit that could reach much lower. 

Then I was hurt.  Someone that I spent months caring for after a serious health crisis was accusing me of being a malignant narcissist, or a psychopath.  I cared for this person because I wanted to, and I just don't understand the kind of hate that drives one to such a place.  It was disturbing, in so many ways.

It didn't take long, though, for me to realize how completely and utterly safe Grace & I are, surrounded by loving friends and family and a God who is deeply protective of His own.  The accusations are so extreme as to be ridiculous.  

Then, I sat down to write a blog post.  And I heard it.  "Be careful. Maybe it's better not to be so open or vulnerable for a while. A seed of doubt has been planted in peoples' minds. You wouldn't want to unwittingly water it by talking about being weak, or afraid.  People might start to believe that you are what they said you were..."

No.  Just...no.  There is no way I can with any sense of honor, encourage the young women in my life to write and speak with courage, and then not do the same myself.  God has given me a voice. I do my very best to please Him, to represent Him accurately and to speak His love and grace into my world.  

I am reminded of a scene in the movie version of Lord of the Rings, the Return of the King.  Aragorn is speaking to his army, outside the Black Gates of Mordor.  In a time of horror undreamed of by the men who fight with him, his words ring loud, from the movie screen to this page - "Sons of Gondor, of Rohan. My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of Fellowship, but it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you, stand, men of the West!"

A day may come, when my heart fails and I cower before my keyboard, and lose the voice that God has given me.  But today is not that day.  And really, if today isn't that day, then tomorrow probably won't be either.  Or the next day.

Just a thought.

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