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This might be the tenth blog you read today, but I hope that something stays with you.
Today is the day that I’m done.
Today is the day that I’m done listening to you tell me
I’m a loser, an accident, a mess-up,
a mistake, and that you’re not satisfied with who I’ve become.
Today is the day that I’m done listening to you tell me
you’re ashamed, you regret it, you’re a failure,
you’re through with us and you’re leaving (for the fourteenth time.)
Today is the day I stop believing you when you say it’s all my fault.
Today is the day I refuse to let your words hurt me anymore.
Today is the day I’ve had enough.
Today is the day I can’t handle it anymore.
Today is the day I stop telling myself
to put up with it, that I deserve it, or that I should be used to it by now.
Today is the day I put up a fight,
not to hurt you back but to defend myself.
Today is the day I’ve been waiting a long time for.
But Today has come.
Today is that day.
Those are the words that tend to come out of people’s mouths when they can tell that I’m upset.
But to me, they don’t make sense.
I know people probably don’t mean it the way I hear it.
It’s (I hope) usually asked out of genuine concern and compassion.
But it sounds like an implication that something must be wrong with me to make me feel this way.
As if something is broken inside of my heart or my soul to make me not always happy, smiling, or receptive.
As if there is something gone wrong inside of me to make me have feelings that don’t include the words “sunshine, happy days, completely positive and absolutely anxiety-free” in their description.
As if it is not okay for me to not be okay, not okay for me to be sad, or in a funk, or quiet, or cranky, or stressed out, or just straight up exhausted.
It’s two words tacked on to the end of an otherwise innocuous, sympathetic question:
Do you have a year or two or seventeen to hear all that’s wrong with me? I’m human; there’s lots of things. It all starts with this thing called sin, but that’s a different story for a different day.
Would you prefer to hear what’s wrong with my day? My week? What’s bothering me? Ask that instead. Keep it short with a “what’s wrong?”
Just please, stop asking what’s wrong with me.
Take those last two words off.
You only make it worse.
On the first Christmas, nobody believed Mary when she said that the baby inside of her was the son of God.
Nobody believed Joseph when he said it wasn’t his, and disrespected him when he stuck by his soon-to-be wife.
The two of them had to travel on a donkey for over sixty miles in the sweltering desert, Mary while heavily pregnant.
When they got to Bethlehem, nobody had a room for them.
When they got to Bethlehem, the baby was born in an animal feed trough covered in hay and dirty rags, inside of an innkeeper’s barn.
But Jesus still came.
This Christmas, your family might fight and scream.
Maybe someone who was here last Christmas or two Christmases or even ten Christmases ago isn’t here for this one.
Maybe a parent won’t call or send a card.
Maybe the gift you thought someone would love and you put a lot of love into, they didn’t.
Maybe the gift you always wanted was a “normal” family and this year you’re not getting that and you’re realizing you might never.
Maybe this year you can’t be surrounded by the ones you love, or maybe someone you love doesn’t love you anymore.
Maybe this year, you’re just hurting.
I don’t know what it is for you.
But Jesus still came.
The Son still showed up.
His love is just as great and mighty as it was yesterday, and tomorrow, and forever.
His promises are still everlasting.
He was called, “Immanuel,” or “God with us.”
God is still with us.
Immanuel is the reason for and the soul of Christmas.
No matter what happens today.
Jesus still came.
“The Lord Himself will give a sign to you; the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call Him Immanuel, ‘God with us.’”
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Hurting people hurt people.
It’s a cliche, but a true one.
You get so caught up in your own wounds and staring at your own scars that you pay no attention to the ones you’re creating on others. You start drowning people in the tears that steadily run down your face.
Hurting people can lean on one another. But the problem begins when we pull on one another, push one another down beneath the waves to use as our own personal lifejacket. It’s like wiping away the tears with sand we found on the ocean floor. Rubbing the saltwater in.
Continually pulling on one another means this:
One drowns, they all drown.
Or stop the pushing, stop the pulling, swim together, and they all just might make it.
So, get swimming.
Existing without living.
I think it happens to everyone sometimes.
There are mornings, days, nights, where you fade into the backdrop. Like a photo pulled slowly out of focus until all you see are blurs of colors blending together that may have, at one time, been a sunset or a girl laughing or a cup of coffee.
It’s like…floating. No, more like drifting.
It’s sort of like being out of it while you’re in it, all of it, all at once.
Stretches of time where, if someone tried to take that snapshot of your life and place it away from the rest and searched for you in it, they couldn’t find you.
Real you. Not your face or your hands, but the light in your eyes. The way you tap your fingers or bite your lip when you get anxious. The smile that makes your eyes crinkle around the edges and the silly faces you make when you didn’t get nearly enough sleep.
It’s not like it’s gone; just blurred, hidden from view.
Somebody told me once that a day, or a night, or even a mid-morning is worth something if you laugh, cry, or think.
I think existing without living are those times when you don’t do any of those.
When you laugh until your sides ache. When you cry, whether it be just a slight rain down your face or as if the ocean is pouring out of you. When you think, and especially when you think deeply. Simply, when you feel. When you feel anything.
When you’re in it, and you feel it, all of it, all at once.
That’s when you live.
You have something that gets to you.
Something that hits you somewhere on the inside and it doesn’t feel good. It wears you out.
Something that’s just replaying itself in the endless cycle of your thoughts, then for a while, as hard as you might try not to, you just think about it.
And think about it.
It’s almost as if you tried to hit the pause button, tried to stop thinking about it, and the CD starts to skip.
Over and over.
So you think that if you can just be done, just stop caring, that the thoughts might stop. The feelings might stop. It might all just stop.
So you try to convince yourself you don’t care anymore, it doesn’t bother you, you’ve let it go.
You don’t care.
You don’t care.
You don’t care.
But you do care, and you know it.
You do care.
Somewhere inside, you still care.
And you don’t what to do with that.
Ever have those days?
Where you’re stuck not knowing how to feel, and then all of a sudden you’re feeling it all at once?
The sadness. The happiness. The bitterness. The fear and stress. The confusion and the fresh understanding. The anger and the love. The excitement and the joy and the anxiety. The utter exhaustion.
It all converges on you all at one time, and then out of nowhere you’re sitting in the middle of your room late at night or curled up in the driver’s seat of your car in the parking lot or standing at your front door, keys in hand, and you’re crying. And you can’t tell what kind of tears they are, happy or sad, but all you know is that it feels good to put your arms down and give your muscles a break from shoving this all back down into your soul.
Why doesn’t anyone write any songs about being 17?
Why doesn’t anyone write about that place in between just a taste of freedom 16 and legal-adult-almost-complete-liberation 18? Why is that place never visited?
I guess I can tell you.
Seventeen is where you get handed some of the burdens of adulthood while you’re still stuck with the weak muscles of a child. Seventeen is being able to jump off the trapeze while still having a safety net as the circus roars around you. Seventeen is the place where people start to call you “young woman” and they really mean it and it sort of scares you because being a woman is empowering but leaving being just a girl behind is somewhat terrifying. Seventeen is where you start making big decisions about the life that lies in front of you and your parents won’t always agree and sometimes that’s for the better and sometimes it isn’t. Seventeen is where the protective tape that’s been up all your life starts to come down and you’re not sure whether you’re relived that it’s gone or if you should be begging and pleading to get it back. Seventeen is glorious and miserable all at the same time. Sometimes you want to stay at seventeen forever and sometimes you wish you were eight or twenty-five or sixty-three or anything but seventeen.
I have a love-hate relationship with seventeen.
By that, I mean I love it and hate it all at the same time.
And maybe, just maybe, seventeen is a little dramatic.
Maybe I’m a little dramatic.
But hey, I’m only seventeen.
Well…I don’t know why I’ve decided to start blogging again. Maybe because it’s therapeutic. And I know I do this again and again, blogging on for 6 months and then going off for two or three or ten. And I can’t say I won’t stop again. But for right now, I’ve started.
Why not? It’s Senior year, and I’ve got a lot of stories to tell and words to write down.
So here I am.
If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you’re damaged goods.
Wait, before you get offended.
Let me explain.
To have your heart broken means to give a piece of your heart to a person, or a thing, and to have that person or thing somehow let you down. Whether it was intentional or not. For me, it was a person. On January 28th, two years ago, my grandpa died of a heart attack. I loved him. Still do. He had a piece of my heart, and now he’s gone. That was my heartbreak. At least, it was my biggest one. So therefore, I am damaged goods.
For you, I don’t know what it was. A husband, a wife, a boyfriend or girlfriend. A parent. A child. A grandparent, like me. A sibling. A friend. Maybe it was a dream. An adventure or a job or a sport. Something that you put your heart into, and then maybe you couldn’t play anymore. You didn’t get into the school you wanted. That job wasn’t needed anymore, so you were laid off. The trip of a lifetime fell through.
I don’t know what it was for you.
But one thing I know for sure.
I have never, in my almost 17 years of life, met a person that hasn’t had their heart broken.
If you say you haven’t, then congratulations, you’re a robot.
But the most important thing about everyone experiencing heartbreak means that everyone is damaged goods.
And that puts us all on the same level. No more us vs. them. No more separation.
We’re all damaged goods.
And the key to that is, that if we’re all damaged goods, then we are all desperately in need of a Savior.
A Savior to heal our broken hearts.
It doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or something in between. Your gender doesn’t matter. Your sexuality. You can be eight, 18, mid-thirties or 65 years old. Doesn’t matter. Any other thing doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you are damaged goods who needs a Savior to come and heal their broken heart.
And for those of you who say you can heal it on your own? News flash: you can’t. Neither can anyone else. Trust me, I tried. I really did.
You may not realize it now. Or want it now. But you need Him. You will always need Him, even after you’ve come to know Him. And if you’re wondering who I’m talking about, His name’s God. And His son, Jesus, is that Savior I’ve been referencing.
So, Damaged Goods, I’ve already accepted what this Savior offers. A whole, healing heart. Eternal life after death. A constant rock to lean on, a refuge in times of trouble. Unconditional love. All of that, and more, in exchange for a commitment. To give up my life, my will, my plans, to follow Him and all the things He has planned for me. To trust in His promises. And so far, it’s going glorious. Not without bumps in the road. I’m still human, still make mistakes. My heart still gets broken, except now I have a Savior to heal it. And His promise says it only gets better from here on out, as long as I stick by Him.
Wanna join me?
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” - (Psalm 147:3 NLT)
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” - (John 16:33 NLT.
“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” - (Romans 3:22 NLT)