I never understood the theology behind being saved and born again. "Saved from what?" I would unintelligibly ask myself whenever I heard the phrase. It's certainly nothing I've ever heard in my Quaker meeting. Probably if I had, it would not have been the place for me.
Yes, I literally knew what people meant. But, having known Jesus in a rather mystical way (which I now believe is the way of Jesus) as a child, those words were meaningless to me and, often, were used as judgment or a means of separating some from others. Counter to what I have experienced as oneness.
Now I might have an answer to saved from what: myself. And I am beginning to feel re-shaped, freed – perhaps born again – after unburdening myself of many years of woundedness. Hurt compounded on hurt like sedimentary rocks. Deep and thick and not easily picked apart. But the prying began some time ago and slowly, bit by layered bit, one after another has been exposed thanks to grace. About 10 years ago, I spent a summer in my sanctuary studio listing my wounds. I acquired an awareness as a result. It explained a lot about myself. About a year and a half ago, I recognized another, inflicted at a very tender age, that has largely shaped my belief that God resides within. Identifying these painful moments provides insight on how I behave and react. But that hasn't been enough. Instead of merely struggling, I struggled with an awareness. That has, almost, been worse; except for the faith I have that I am somehow progressing. In certain situations, I don't automatically act anymore. I have been opened to knowing my idiosyncracies, placing less emphasis on myself as victim.
However, I wondered why life was so difficult and where was the so-called freedom, nirvana, kingdom or happiness most religious traditions bandy about. I never lost my hope or trust, but it did grow thin at times. I believed that acknowledging these dark pieces in myself was enough. I had shed light on them, what more work was there?
Acceptance. Acceptance in the form of forgiveness for self and others. That was the big step missing. The only way for me personally to obtain that was to verbalize all of the hurt to another human. One I trusted, who met me where I was with only love and the experience of having traveled the same path. Because she could accept me and my wounds and love me, then I could do so myself. For the first time I felt totally "seen" both dark and light. She gave me names for my wounds, which opened more self wisdom and let out a lot of self loathing. She enabled me to let myself off the hook. The horribly deep hook that had taken charge.
After I spewed and she accepted, the stabbing ache vacated my heart. And that area of my body felt odd all day. It wasn't until I was falling asleep that I understood the naming, accepting and forgiving had cleared those old wounds out of my heart. There was more room, less restriction, a lightness and freeness. I listened to my inner self and took the next day off to feed myself for myself. Not so I could then feed others ... in the hopes they would feed me in return. That last part is a relatively new revelation for me. I have been a nurturer most of my life because I had not received that for reasons, which now seem meaningless and unimportant.
My lonely inner child has been fighting so many of the negative lessons on self care I have accrued over a lifetime. And now she doesn't have to. I have re-birthed a place in myself that is learning to truly nurture me merely for me.
• What's my theology pertaining to self revelation?
• What is it's connection to Spirit/God/Jesus?
• What has happened when I have shared my wounds with another human?
• How am I able to take that experience and open to another?
• How do I nurture myself just for myself?
to help others to keep up
the good-girl title
avoiding any conflict or negativity
and secretly storing it away
also to keep the title
and also because I knew no other way
I had been told, taught and shown to be quiet,
pay attention, but not call attention to myself
never learning how to care for myself,
just to serve and please others
not knowing I was secretly
serving others so they would do the
same for me
and being hurt, rejected and worn down
when they didn't return the favor,
turning on myself
years and years it piled up
until my inner child roared STOP
and pointed me to the person in
whom I must confide
ALL of it
and, when I did,
most ALL of it drained away,
clearing space for forgiveness,
which created more space
for freedom and love
especially love for myself
I have always liked myself,
now I can love me, too