What name would you give to yourself?

We are lonely because we are ashamed, because we believe we are a mistake.
We are planted here, strangers to ourselves. Even our name was chosen for us.
What name would you give to yourself? What words of recognition can you speak to the stranger in the mirror, who has suffered the way you have?
What do we really know about this inner being, mute and wide-eyed?
The combination of wanting to explore but being hindered at every turn by our own severity is too much to comprehend for our animal being.
It howls in confusion and then grows silent, the deadly kind.

You watch everything in nature being simply itself and it burns a hole in your chest.
This is too much to bear. You need distraction, you need to be lulled back to sleep.
You crave the warm presence of others, others who see you and admire you and lovingly reassure you that this stranger that you are has somehow, miraculously and naturally, turned out okay. Yet doubt always remains. Others disappoint you, are cruel where they should be kind, withhold where they should abundantly give. You lose trust and can never be sure that you are in fact, okay.

In fact, you have a hunch that life doesn’t really want you here, that you are a mistake.
Your desires, the thoughts and doings that put you on fire, scare the hell out of you.
They require open, free, vulnerable exploration, something your wild being has taught itself to avoid at all cost. The stranger in the mirror exasperates you and again you crave reassurance that you are okay. You watch everything in nature being itself and the anger you feel surprises your peaceful exterior. God in His infinite mercy withholds the assurance you crave and your anger and bitterness intensifies. “Very well then,” you mutter through gritted teeth,“I will not pray, I will not praise You while I suffer so!”

Yet outside the spring blossoms are blooming again and there is something tender about that. You contemplate tenderness and hold it in your heart and mind for a bit. Then you encounter this wide-eyed stranger again and it takes a moment longer for you to avert your gaze. You know you are unhappy, but you start to wonder if life would really thwart you if you tried something new. Despite yourself, your need for God increases, but you hear no easy answers to your pain. The only thing you notice is the harshness of your own thoughts and it all seems rather hopeless.

As spring progresses, buds everywhere burst open with green miracles. (Could they have been a mistake?) There is an opening in your mind that wasn’t there before. You think about the womb that held you and how tenderly and patiently life was given to you. Could that have been a mistake?

 

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