Friday, August 17, 2012

When Words Try to Hurt

WARNING!  Please do not go back and respond to the comments I'm going to post about.  Please respect my wishes for Lily's blog to not be a warzone of hateful words between one another.  I am merely making this post to share the process I went through and how healing occurred from it, to share that because it is a beautiful feeling.

For the past two days, I have been bombarded by some pretty seething comments regarding my "Hateful Words" post.  While I don't like these comments, I have to say that I respect each and every person's right to have such comments.  This is a blog.  It is a public forum, I must accept that everyone does not hold the same opinion that I have, and that is why I have chosen not to delete what Anonymous (all but one of them) has said.

What these Anonymous commenters don't understand is that their words didn't hurt me that much.  I'm sure they wanted them to, but they didn't.  It was more the situation.  Sure, I wanted to reply back with some biting, sarcastic remark, but I just finished reading a book about Desmond Tutu, and I highly value the way that he handled conflict and epitomizes the ubuntu philosophy where "A person is a person through other persons" and that person knows that "he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are" (No Future Without Forgiveness, by Desmond Tutu).  I have admired this philosophy for years and have struggled to cultivate it within myself since learning about it.  Perhaps it is through encounters such as this where my greatest cultivation occurs.

Here was my biggest problem.  I felt misunderstood.  I know.  I know.  I shouldn't worry about that, but as a writer, I strive for clarity.  These people posting these comments just didn't get it.  And that bothered me.  I wanted to respond to tell them that they got it all wrong.  But you see, their words seemed hateful to me, and I knew my responses would sound the same.  I thought about Martin Luther King Jr.'s quote "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that," and so I tried to think of nice things I could say.  Kill them with kindness, my mom would say.  Still, I struggled.  Dave suggested that I just keep quiet, but the problem is that I cannot keep words inside of me.  Honestly, I don't like to write, but I need to write!  Keeping it inside of me is a dagger that won't stop twisting.

So a struggle ensued.  This was not so much about them and me as it was about me against myself.  If I didn't really want to respond hatefully, and I couldn't respond silently, and the kind words weren't there, what was I to do?  Could I really not get in touch with that peaceful place and respond appropriately?  What was my inability to respond with kind words saying about my beliefs as a Christian?  Why could I not respond in a way I know Tutu would respond?  (Silly thought, I know.)

I'm sure the negative posters delighted in my struggle.  They are probably sitting back right now, in self-congratulatory mode, thinking that they have won.  What they don't know is that they won't win because I embrace struggles and recognize them as a chance to grow.  Currently, I am reading Aleph by Paulo Coelho (perhaps by the grace of God I am reading this book), and just last night I read this:  "What hurts us is what heals us."  Exactly!  Those seven simple words gave me renewed strength, and my fight began.

The problem then became "how do I allow this healing?" because I still had the problem of keeping silent.  Part of my plan became that instead of giving them my negative energy, I would give someone well-deserving my positive energy.  A few Sundays ago, in church, a little eight-year-old girl was sitting in the pews a few rows ahead of us.  Towards the end of the service, she looked back at Lily, and she had the most endearing, the purest, look.  It was full of compassion and there was not one single sense of disability in her eyes.  It was all I could do not to cry.  I complimented her to her mother, which was very meaningful to her mother.  I had been meaning to email her mom and praise the little girl again, but never did.  This little girl's look held my hope these past few days, so I resolved to email her mom and explain the situation and praise the little girl even more.  That resolve was step one, and I emailed the mom this morning.

Step two involved trying a few things.  I tried crying my frustration out.  There are times when crying is very cathartic for me, but this was not one of those times.  I tried washing those words away with a nice, hot shower.  This pregnancy leaves my skin itchy, and showers help.  That's about all that shower helped, though it did give me the idea for step three.  And, of course, I did try praying.  Let's just say that I know my prayer life desperately needs to improve.  Unfortunately, none of those worked single-handedly, but I do give credit and say that they all helped get me there.

I still needed step three.  Music.  Somewhere around midnight, I went to my keyboard. . .and stayed there until about 1:20.  Oh how many problems have been forgotten and solved by sitting alone at the piano or guitar!  And I have now added to that list.

I went to bed, able to sleep, and woke up this morning feeling quite refreshed.  I tried thinking about those posts, but my mind just wouldn't let me do it.  Another post came in, and I just laughed when I read it.  None of those words went to my heart, and I didn't feel the need to respond (except I did want to make one correction, but I didn't, and I was amazed at the 54-year-old who made the comment because I think of the maturity the 54-year-olds I know have that this person could use).

And here's the last thing:  the other day, I was listing to Beth Moore on the radio, one of her Quick Word broadcasts.  I believe she was talking about her daughter, but she may have been talking about one of her listeners.  She was talking about criticism, and she basically said that you have to know yourself to handle criticism.  You have to know when to accept it and you have to know when it's not right.  What these commenters don't understand is that there may be areas where I feel insignificant and insecure, but where they hit me, well, those are my most secure areas!  In trying to be hurtful, they were only helpful because they allowed me to do a little self-searching and realize that therein is where my strengths lie.  I AM a good mother, I AM a good person, I stand firmly behind my decision to allow Lily to experience life and will defend that decision to the end, and I am NOT perfect.  (Never claimed to be.)  All of us are children of God, and that includes Lily, and not all people believe this.  They don't have to.  But Lily doesn't know that.  What she knows is that there are plenty of people out there who love her, and that's all she needs to know.    So in a way, I thank these readers for their comments.  In my opinion, they weren't nice, but their words made me stronger and only confirmed that "what hurts us is what heals us."


AGAIN, I cannot express how much it means to me that you not go back and make comments regarding those comments.  I am healed and today is a beautiful day, and I hope that you can find it in your heart to not give these people any of your energy, but to find a way to heal and grow from their words instead.  Besides, I do not need any affirmations, and That.  Feels.  Good!


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  7. {{{HUGS}}} Thanks for showing me the higher road. Love you and Lily

  8. Love keeping up with Lily! You are an inspiration to me.

  9. Hi Lily and Family
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. Lily is a precious miracle, special gift, and beautiful princessess. They are cute earthly angel. Lily is a smilen champ, inspirational hero, courageous fighter, and a brave warrior.
    I was born with a rare life threatening disease, developmental delays, 14 medical conditions.