Driving home last night I heard an unfamiliar song and just as I was about to switch stations, some of the lyrics struck a chord or two inside my wondering brain, and I just sat at the red light wondering why I didn't think of the lyrics first. The lyrics (by Hozier): "I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife."
Isn't that the saddest image? I can picture it as I write. I see a person sitting, broken and tattered, in front of someone they trust (ie, spouse, friend, parent) and as they begin to reveal the inner details of their heart, be it sins or not, this supposed confidant pulls out a dull knife and begins wielding it until the edges are sharp and dangerous. It is an image, I fear, that is all too common among us.
Over the past year, I have listened to some very close friends as they've dealt with really hard things. They came to me in confidence and asked me to lend a forgiving ear as they divulged personal experiences that have left their worlds damaged and dark. Each story, each sin, each trial has tugged at my soul and brought me to my knees as I've searched for ways to lift these broken hearts. And the answer that repeatedly comes into my mind is, "Do not judge. Just be still with them, and show them love." I continue to do this to the best of my ability.
Why do we judge? Why do we sharpen our knife at the expense of another? The world is in need of so much healing and judgment never heals; it only inflicts deeper wounds. I don't always understand why people choose to do what they do (geez, I don't even know why I do what I do sometimes), but I know the world is not a black and white world. There are many shades of gray in between the two opposites, and all that gray can be foggy and confusing, even if we know there is light at the other side. We are all just wandering our way through doing the best we can with what we know. And sometimes we misstep because we can't see through to the other side as clearly as the person next to us. Or sometimes we stumble down a really large hill because although we could see a different path, the hill looked so much more enticing. We may never understand why some people take the paths they do, but the judgment needs to stop. If it doesn't, why would these people stuck in dead ends or in ditches ever want to reach out and find a helping and honest hand?
The world needs more helping hands; I'm convinced of that. Just yesterday Mya was bullied at school by a little boy who relentlessly taunted her at P.E., and as she told me the story on our way home from school, she said, "Mom, I don't understand him. He must be sad inside." I told her that she was probably right, and I asked her what she did to feel better after the boy was asked to leave class. She said a little girl she had never talked to walked up to her and asked her to be on the same team. Mya said she wanted to go home, but she felt so happy that this little girl was kind to her that she decided to stick with the class. This girl taught Mya the importance of helping hands. Without her, I probably would've received a phone call from the office telling me to come get her from school early. I will be forever grateful for the kind hearts of people all over the world, especially if they help one of my own.
Let's put down our knives; bury them if needed. And let's work together to get through the thick gray fog.