Posted by: CeCe | June 20, 2012

Handle with care

I’ve been coming to a realization about people in general, and it was so emotional and overwhelming that I almost didn’t want to write about it.  However, I think it needs to be said, and I suppose since it’s a thought I’ve been having, I should go ahead and say it.  I’ve begun to understand why people see others the way they do, and why they see the world as being a slightly darker place than it actually is.  That reason is because every last one of us, in one way or another, is broken.  When and how we were broken varies from person to person.  For some people, it’s as simple as not getting what we wanted for our birthday as a child.  For others, it’s facing abuse at the hands of someone they should have been able to trust, learning the ugly truth about someone, losing a beloved pet or a close relative, or having to move away from our childhood friends and home.  Either way, every last one of us has been broken in some way.  We’ve been damaged.  We’ve had our entire worldview irrevocably altered in some way, and we open our eyes to realize that what we thought we knew is a lie.

For me, some of the ways I’ve been broken have already been discussed in previous posts; for example, the deaths of my grandparents and parents, the deaths of several friends, and the molestation at the hands of someone I trusted.  But there’s something else that happened when I was a child that has affected me very deeply, though some of you might think it’s silly, especially in comparison to having grown up with the impending death of my father hanging over my head.  We had this dog, whom we named Cotton, who had six adorable puppies at one point.  There was one who was pure black except for a little mark of white on his little forehead, and I absolutely fell in love with him; I had named him Thunderstorm, but had nicknamed him Stormy.  I wanted to keep him so badly.  I loved all the puppies, but he was my favorite.  One day, I came home from school, and immediately ran to go see him, but my brother stopped me and said I didn’t want to go in the area where the puppies had been.  I looked behind him, into the pool area, and saw four little bundles wrapped in newspaper.  It turned out the puppies had gotten loose, and four of them went in the pool and drowned.

Stormy was one of them.

I was absolutely crushed.  Since then, I’ve had trouble loving or even liking dogs, so afraid that I would fall in love with one only to have him snatched away from me suddenly.

I think all of us go through life like that.  Not necessarily in exactly the same way, but just broken from being betrayed or let-down in some way, so we’re afraid to reveal too much of ourselves to anyone, thinking that they’ll be just like those who have hurt us.  Maybe we find one person who eases our fears a bit, and maybe they really are the kind of person who can see us as we really are and love us anyway, or maybe that person also turns out to be the opposite of what we had hoped and believed they were.

Is it little wonder, then, how many of us reveal as little as possible of ourselves to others, and why we misinterpret each other so badly?  Is that why many of us assume the worst about others, and can’t seem to quite get past our bitterness and anger?  How do we even begin mending what’s broken within us?  Is it even possible?

I don’t know the answer to any of that, though I must say my faith has helped me immensely in letting go of my own bitterness, fear, and anger (you knew that was coming, right?).  But everyone is different.  Perhaps some of us hold on to the anger and bitterness because we believe it shields us from truly feeling the pain of betrayal and loss.  Perhaps we’re able to let go of our anger and bitterness through walking a different path of faith, or none at all.  But I think that even if we do let go, even if we’re able to find a way around it, we still carry the burden of having been damaged on our shoulders, and we see the world and other people through the lens of having been so deeply hurt.  It darkens everything, and we’re so used to it that we don’t even realize it.

So here’s what I think.  I think we should learn to handle everyone around us with care.  We should realize that everyone is fragile, and yes, that means you and me.  We’ve all been broken, in one way or another.

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