Early this morning I received a call from my mother tell me that my sister got married yesterday.
I play this little game with blogging, sometimes, where I pretend that I am writing about things “IN THE DISTANT PAST” (or future). Perhaps it makes me feel more important, like “I’ve lived” or “I’ve arrived.” The truth is, you all can see that, even in that little act, I’m playing child’s games and trying to manipulate how I feel.
Some of you may know, but many of you do not, that my sister has not spoken with me since August 2010 … “well that’s only a year a a few months…” right? It feels like much much longer. And I wish that I COULD be writing this post today with the knowledge that what happened is a part of THE DISTANT PAST (or my distant past) but it’s not. It’s right here. Today.
After finishing up a run while listening to a podcast, my phone rang and I answered to hear the sleepy voice of my mother. Supposedly she woke very very early her time to make sure she caught me on the phone in the early AM (my time) to tell me news that my sister got married last night. My ego INSTANTLY ignited in flames – ’cause this life is ALL about me, right? Wrestling with such self-obsession is an ugly ordeal but the Spirit of love and life within me struck fiercely with passion and mercy for my family. That voice in me of something wonderful rang out, telling me that my mother WAS trying to do what is right. That familiar, sting, however of my mother’s “well, I KNOW THAT I WOULD HAVE WANTED TO KNOW” drowned out what felt like any good intentions that had, earlier, blossomed in my heart. “She’s not ME, I thought” – so there ya have my ego in queue! Praise Him that I held my tongue long enough without letting all that was in me ask this one question “Did you call knowing that it would hurt me to know this?…” Who cares if any of my peers would have wanted to ask the same question, the very knowledge of my depravity can answer my question: My problem is ME!
So one day, I would love for that voice and Spirit inside of me that reminds me of how much my sister matters – that she is so significant OUTSIDE of any amount of time she does or does not talk to me, outside of the kind or hateful choices she makes, OUTSIDE of her behaviors – . The God that loves me the God that created us loves her for the very reason that he loves her. AND LEAST OF ALL HE LOVES HER OUTSIDE OF HOW I JUDGE HER! Furthermore, I want for that Spirit to be AWAKENED even more so that understand of where MY RESPONSIBILITY, in this situation, precedes. In August 2010, I planned to visit my sister in Portland and then felt SO TIED after flying home to Reno from a visit in NC that I slept through the day that I was to arrive in Portland. Having left my phone in NC on that vacation, I stood my sister up for that visit and my best friend Bria who waiting in a hotel lobby for me to pick her up. This story should outrage my readers for the sake that you’d be upset and hurt by my irresponsibility and disregard for your time if I’d done so to you. In fact, many of you might be reading this thinking that any hurtful thing my sister does to me serves me right for my nasty behavior – to either YOU or to my sister. I can tell you you’re right. I deserve nasty things to come my way IF Jesus didn’t die on the cross for my lousy behavior (UNDERSTATEMENT).
It even seems like a perversion, of the mighty victory Jesus’ act at the cross was, to mention that he forgives my offensive behavior at Calvary (and forevermore). Does this reflect how unworthy I feel? – that my crimes and my filth are not even worthy of being forgiven because they’re THAT shameful? The harm that I have caused my sister is tremendous. So I am COMPELLED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS HURT IS DEFINITELY JUST ABOUT ME (And I KNOW my ego doesn’t just linger, still, RATHER IT RADIATES WITH JEALOUSLY for my spirit – because I WANT TO BE THE ONLY ONE THATS’s HURTING HERE! – not just me and my sister BUT MEEEEEEEEEE)
Preparing lunch to take along as I rush out the door, I thank God that I do not act out in my compulsive behaviors to change the way I feel. Praise God that I can experience REAL LIFE like the rest of you without going to a drug of choice to numb or change my true emotions! “FELL THE PAIN, Feel the pain, feel the pain…” … “maybe saying those words will make the hurt go away more quickly” I think in my little thought cloud. It doesn’t help.
I sobbed on the way to the bus. I sobbed waiting for the bus. I sobbed, trying to hide whimpers, on the bus! (okay, even THIS surprised me). When I was growing up, my mother, very seldom, told me that my emotions were genuine or believable…and now, even, I wonder myself. “So in ALL GENUINENESS JASPER, CUT THE CRYING!” “JUST SHUT-UP emotions! TURN OFF!” They don’t. (And those of us who know the lies we believed growing up, we can now thank God for revealing them to us – knowledge of them can no longer excuse or choice to, further, continue believing the lies. I understand that the past simply explains my tenancies to believe lies, perhaps, rather than to believe the truth) Feeling like a blubbering idiot, I wondered “Why can I not stop crying?!” Now I know that my sincerest effort to turn off the sobbing loses-out against deep pain from within my soul.
One thing I REJOICE in is my joy over taking a nice picture and even choosing one nice one for this post seemed impossible. Even a gorgeous woman like Ciara, in a gorgeous shot above, was twisted and cloudy as I attempted to claw out of the chasm of hell in my heart this morning. “Yikes, Jasper’s freaking me out,” you say? Or perhaps you’ve been here…you know that emptiness when others turn on you, when the REAL issues (my egocentricity) blindingly glare.
Finally, I am grateful. Grateful for a job in Durham, NC and a little coffee mug in my cubicle…Grateful for a bed to sleep in where my aunt lives and plants (for) to water in her breakfast nook…Grateful for a friend to call “sister” in my head when she calls…for the love of a Savior with a love of a fierce and majestic kind…
tomorrow’s post will be lighter 😉 I’ll try to keep that promise!
and I’ll add a few nice photos I, once, shot that might help wash away some icky feelings…
let me know what you think and share any comments below!