Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A lifetime of mistakes

When I wrote the previous post, Two Pink Lines, I left out a side of the story that I don’t want to be forgotten. I don’t want the other side to be dismissed.

Because I’ve been the one with the belittling words and disgusted looks. I’ve been the one with a distaste in my mouth and a feeling of superiority. I’ve been the one who has thought more about appearances than the heart and person in front of me.

You see, I’m so far from perfect, and in my lifetime I’ve left a wake of mistakes.

So often I’ve found myself the opposite of the prodigal father. Ready to point fingers and issue blame instead of just welcoming people in. Seems silly as I’m a Christian, but that’s where it’s not so silly after all. Because we all make mistakes. We all get it wrong sometimes.

There are words I wish I could take back, venom seeping without regret. There are looks and faces that I wish I could erase. I’ve been the receiver of so much dependent love that for a long time that was the only love I knew how to give. Love that only showed itself when the behavior or person in front of me met my approval.

Somehow I learned that the very thing that continues to break my heart, a love full of conditions, was the only way I knew how to show love myself.

What a mistake.

I wish so often that I could go back and take back the looks and the words and the hate and the conditions. That I could open my arms and see through the issue at hand. But what I’ve learned as I’ve healed and forgiven and made restitution is that I can’t take back the mistakes but I can change the way I react going forward.

And sometimes I still make mistakes.

And I will until I die. But I hope that today I’m more focused on the face in front of me, on loving unconditionally, on seeing a person on the other side fighting with everything that is within them to make sense of the mess they’ve found themselves in.

I wonder how abortion would change if we began seeing hurting women who need support and love and care and someone who needs someone to help them fight for life. If we started seeing them not for the mistakes they’ve made or the mess they’ve gotten into. But instead saw them as people just like you and me.  And gave them hope that their future would be better bringing forth life than trying to wipe away reality.

Because if I’ve learned anything from mistakes is that they never quite erase all the way. Somehow they leave a trail of dust…

Because meeting a mistake by making another isn’t the way to make things right.

All we can do is learn from them and do it better tomorrow.

Because if we’re honest we all have a lifetime of mistakes.

And we can always try to do it better.

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