Tuesday, March 15, 2016

On The Bullet-Loader

I stood out in a nearly empty parking lot today …just staring up at the sky.  A breeze blew across my face and tears rolled down my cheeks.

Something about this time of year makes me nostalgic.  This time of year makes me hurt deeper…feel heavier…ache longer.  As the snow melts away and the days get longer and the world prepares to rise again, I unknowingly find myself standing in my own deep winter; buried in memories of past grief and loss.

It made me think a lot about rejection; about conflicts gone unresolved; relationships broken apart; memories left tainted.

I don’t try to find myself here. It just happens.  As surely as the sun rises, the wind always makes its way back and carries a piece of me with it.

I remember enduring my first real heartbreak just after high school and feeling as though I would never be whole again.  As though the hurt would forever change who I was.  Of course – we bounce back.  I always bounce back.  The human spirit enables us to rise from the ashes and heal the broken pieces of ourselves.  We learn. We grow.  We start to become the person we were always meant to be.  But some days – some seasons – past hurts just rush forward again and I find myself struck by the undying ache that often comes with saying goodbye.



I don’t sit well through the discomfort of rejection.  I try to negotiate it. I try to romanticize it. I try to rationalize it.  But I don’t sit through it. Because it hurts.

Rejection brings to the surface some of my deepest and darkest insecurities.  It opens me up to some of the scariest things I’ve ever believed about myself.  It leads me down a rabbit hole that I’ve spent my entire life trying to climb out of.
I used to plead to {please deity name here} to take away my agony, my darkness, my deep wounds that never seemed to heal.  I used to plead to bring me validation from the person who hurt me so that I could move on with life feeling like I was “enough” again.  I just needed someone to tell me how to make things right again, so I could be free from the shame of having made it all wrong.

Because that’s what rejection is for me; it is someone else holding the gun while I handed them the bullets. And it never once occurred to me that it didn’t have to be like that.

Until one very recent day, it did.
Until one day, I stood in a wet parking lot…unclenched my fist…and dropped the bullets on the ground.
Until one day, I decided to give myself the permission, the forgiveness, and the grace I had been waiting for all along.

Because here’s the thing…
I can’t control whether or not I’m “enough” for someone else. I can’t control whether or not I’m pretty enough or funny enough or smart enough or giving enough.
Most of all, I can’t control who stays and who walks away.

I can only love and care and breathe and place my armour gently on the ground for those who are standing in front of me.
The moment I realized this, a strange thing happened, the hurting didn’t stop. The sting didn’t go away. The dull ache didn’t just drift with the wind.

But it did stop holding me hostage.

Instead, it began to act as a beautiful reminder that bravery happened at the site of such lingering pain. Being a human is scary sometimes.  In this life, filled with other scared humans and lots of scary uncertainty, it’s a true act of courage to open yourself up to another person and let yourself be seen.

So today, I will not run from it.  Today, I will sit with it.
Maybe we can converse.  Maybe we will write together.  Maybe it has a story to tell.

Maybe I will let it remind me that all roads, all pain, all hurt led here.  To this beautiful place, with bullets on the ground, and grace blowing in the wind.