"And I need to be patientI love this song, because I know the feeling all too well.
And I need to be brave
Need to discover how I
need to behave
And I'll find out the answers
When I know what to ask
But I speak a different language
And everybody's talking too fast."
K.T. Tunstall, Miniature Disasters
The gospel, I have found, has required of me the very opposite of everything I've ever learned from my parents.
It's hard to be patient with the people who only acknowledge your existence to scream at you for something you've done wrong. It's hard to be brave when your father is the one creating disasters all around you because of drugs, alcohol, and abuse. I don't want to seem pendantic with the point I'm trying to make, or like I'm searching for some form of sympathy, so that's where these descriptions of my past stop. I've made my point in an understatement; it's "hard" to be perfect when you have no idea what it looks like...
And hard to trust it once you do.
The Savior's example, to be perfectly honest, goes against everything I've ever taught myself. And because of how my life has played out for the past 17 years, I've had to learn a lot of things on my own. Love is cheap, lies are numerous, trust is overrated, sorrow is certain, and people are the source of disappointment every single time. Those were my doctrine. I believed in myself; because I didn't have much else to believe in.
16 years of doing things my way. 16 years of keeping my distance from people. 16 years of being screwed over by the end of every day, and expecting nothing better than that from my life.
Is it any wonder that Jesus didn't make sense to me?
Do people ever change?
A very deep question with subjective answers at best. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said, "No. People can change their actions, but they cannot change who they are inside." I would have sworn to that statement and signed it in blood. And you know what? I still believe it, but with certain modifications.
It takes a strong person to change anything about himself, including his actions. It takes an even stronger person to fall onto his knees in repentance. For me, change was impossible until I gave myself up to God, and began to repent. I had relied upon a sharp-tongued exterior long enough in exchange for survival. It was time to return to Heavenly Father before the person I was inside, the kindhearted and loving person I was preserving within my own mind, was lost forever. To find her again, I knew it would take more than I had left in me.
16 years of suffering, and it all ended because I agreed to go to church on some random Sunday in the Spring.
I bring this up because of something that happened to me today. I was in my AP English 11 class, and I was trying to see whether or not I finally managed to get my grade up to a B- or not. When I saw that I did, I was ecstatic. I instantly embraced the first available person, who just happened to be my friend Alexis. With squeals of girlish delight, I proudly announced the reason for my behavior... which, by the way, is (was?) ABSOLUTELY OUT OF CHARACTER FOR ME! And she was shocked.
"Are you HUGGING me?!" she asked in skeptical concern, as if she was afraid of a possible ulterior motive. She probably suspected me to stick a knife in her back, or something equally violent. And you may think I'm joking; and despite all that I've learned, it still pains me for unusual reasons when I say, "I wish I wasn't."
That experience sat with me for a while today. She was shocked, even frightened because she didn't trust my affection to be as it appeared.
Because of the changes I've made, I'll be stepping back into reality as a person with compassion. That's how Christ would have it. I know that because it's because of Him that I am changed. And even though I still hesitate with my new lifestyle sometimes, I know that will change with time and practice.
And I'm glad to report that it's my mask that I'm locking inside of my internal Pandora's Box anymore, instead of my identity.