Monday, July 07, 2008

Whitewash

Banks tell their employees that the way to discern counterfeit money is to handle real currency until it's known instinctively by sense of touch. Counterfeit money might look like the real thing, but sensitive fingers do not lie; it will be found out.

In the book of 1 Corinthians Paul graciously sheds light on what genuine love is and isn't so we can measure our experiences.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres."
What I'm walking through 'out there' isn't love. It talks like love but it walks like 'not love.' To an untrained eye it looks ideal. But it's a sham, a whitewash.

No, what I'm experiencing is not love. In my attempts to improve the situation I find myself pulled into the vortex of deceit and manipulation. I am deceived and a deceiver. I am manipulated and a manipulator. I feel myself staggering, the ground under me shifts.

The disorientation confuses me. I find myself assimilating. My own ugliness grows while the good recedes. The genuine battles the counterfeit. Up is down, wrong is right, what is happening?

Suddenly I recognize the trap. In near panic I search for an exit. The only way of escape I can find is to avoid the people who plot and scheme, who lie to me, who use me, who bite and devour each other, the greedy, self-seeking, deceitful, proud, rude, and angry ones who keep records of wrong.

Can this be the answer? To avoid? To give up? To run away in order to save myself? Can I help others when I myself am critically wounded?

Is it a matter of preserving myself and my integrity now in order to live to fight another day? Another year? Does perseverance mean I intend to return after my wounds are attended or must I stay in the grueling conflict until I am crushed?

Here in the shelter of my family of six - my husband and children - there is unmistakable, recognizable love. I am given space to be confused and work it out, to brood until peace is found, to love with too much enthusiasm and not enough, to be honest. I stumble, I fall, they help me up. This is love. This I understand. My senses recognize this genuine love as the real deal. This - my home - is not the 'out there' that plagues me. This is my sanctuary.

Just now the morning light awakens me before the star itself rises. A new day, freedom to straighten myself out or at least the opportunity to try, to begin. Here in the safety of my immediate family I can rest and ponder, struggle and relax, come to conclusions - or not - and know that I am safe.

They give me strength to continue on in the 'out there', they have faith that I will prevail over my sins, they give me hope that what is at the end of this immense pain is worth it.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."
Genuine love.

6 comments:

tshsmom said...

Thank God for the sanctuary of home and our true loved ones!

I always told my kids that my biggest goal in life was to make our home a sanctuary from the rest of the world. They didn't understand this when they were younger...now they do.

Sandy's Notes said...

Cherie, I see what you mean about Desiderata. Amazing how sometimes we can be in the same place so far away!

Anonymous said...

Your writing touches my heart so many times - this time it made it ache for you. I've been in that same situation - you will forgive, but it takes a long time to forget or to understand. We love you.
Aunt Joyce

Cherie said...

Tshs: I knew you would understand, for you are my kindred. Yes, the kids figure it out when they become battered by the 'out there.' Sanctuary, thy name is 'home.'

Sandy, yeah, it really is amazing how we are in the same place and still so far apart.

A.J.: You are and ever will be my inspiration! Thanks for the encouragement. Coming from you it means a whole lot. I love you and U.F., too!

His Love is the Theme of My Song said...

Thanks for the great talk on the phone last night, Sis! I sure do love you!

Mike S said...

Family, home, and good friends are our guides through the turmoil of 'out there'. A true family is where they take you in, care for you, comfort you, support you, and most of all, LOVE you. Just as you are, no matter where you've been, what you've done, or what's been said. Unconditional acceptance.