What Hurts?

I had another meeting last night in which harsh words were spoken to me; I feel much of what was said was unjustified and misplaced, but I do understand that it is essential for me to pay attention to how others perceive me. Being accused of acting from ego strikes me to the quick; I feel wounded because I honestly spend much of my time analyzing my ego, examining the attachments I have that I use to manufacture a sense of self that can be asserted and experienced. My goal is to understand–intellectually and emotionally–what is happening to me within the moment, so I can remain calm, rational, and compassionate in thought, word, and deed. I am far from having accomplished this, and I also understand that I am a hurricane. A force. I can bowl people over in the name of enthusiasm and passion, but it can come across as a threat or egotism. I must remain aware of this, and adjust my behavior so that it better represents my intentions, and encourages others to want to be collaborative. Today, I pray for guidance in this endeavor. 

But I hurt. Much of that hurt was affirmed and acknowledged last night, and for that I am grateful. I am truly humbled by the ways in which others have been able to put aside their own hurt to hear mine, something I believe I reciprocate as well. The stinging words still echo in my mind, though, like an unfair taunt on the playground I used to answer better at night, alone and in the shower, feeling tough and confident, than I did at the time.  But that there is ego, the need to feel vindicated or justified in my defensiveness. Pride. Hubris. Still, the intellectual realization does not mitigate the emotional response. 

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that Jesus’ sufferings connect us to him. That in the most difficult of our human experiences, we are most profoundly connected to the one who models perfectly God’s intentions for humanity. And like Christ, who went to his death certain that God’s grace would await him, we in our pain and sorrow can rest in God, knowing that forgiveness and love are abundant to the repentant and recalcitrant heart. God’s assurance remains even when the slings and arrows are hurled. Whether in the valley or on the mountain, we are not alone. 

I feel small today. I want to take up less space. Maybe that will shrink the hurt. 

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