Perception…

Perception is defined as immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; discernment. The problem with perception is that any 2 people may perceive the same conditions, situations, or circumstances differently. This has intrigued me for many years since marrying a person who in personality traits is my opposite.

Erick and I can be in the same room, hear the same words spoken, witness the same interactions and carry something quite different away from the experience. We are likely to “read” experiences differently. What this has done for me is opened my mind and heart to the many ways in which interpretations are made and how truth can be lost in the process.

I love the statement, “just the facts please” because the facts are all we can take as substantive. Trust is necessary for individuals to be able to accept facts at face value without superimposing over those facts our own preconceived notions of others or their motives/intentions. For instance, if a person tells me something all I can really know is what they said. I can’t really KNOW whether or not they are sincere. I am likely to believe or disbelieve the truth or sincerity of what is said based on my level of trust in that person. Here’s where it gets really tricky though. My trust of others may well have more to do with whether or not I found people from my past to be trustworthy or not instead of the actual state of trustworthiness of the one with whom I am currently interacting.

Ever been having a conversation alone with another person and got the feeling there were “others in the room” so to speak? I have and at such times said, “this is not about me!” A realization like that can jolt another person into the reality that indeed what is occurring is deeply rooted in the past, or better said, in relationships/experiences of the past.

Once upon a time, I was a deeply wounded individual with hurts too many to count. I forever found myself with hurt feelings from one person to another, from one relationship to another and frankly it was exhausting as well as excruciatingly painful. It took years and years of strained relationships before I finally realized I was so wounded a gentle breeze blowing by hurt just a little 😉 It was time to heal…Oh and how to do that, what a question???

My answer as to how one heals from a multitude of hurts is that it can occur miraculously and instantaneously for some, but for the vast majority of us it occurs over time with prolonged intentional work. It requires being willing to look at and own our hurts and then to, one by one, take them in prayer to the Lord for healing. It requires, ABSOLUTELY REQUIRES FORGIVENESS…forgiveness of ourselves and of others. It requires recognizing our own failures right alongside the failures of those who have hurt us. It is not easy and all will not do it, but I found it essential for me in order for my life to go on.

The process was tearful and long but worth every effort. Until I found healing I would find no comfort. Isn’t that a strange concept? In order to be able to experience comfort from others, I would FIRST have to find healing. You see, I had to heal in order to be able to let anyone get close enough to touch the tender places in my heart with comfort, a comfort I could accept.

I had lunch today with a friend who has walked alongside me now for 20 years. We marveled over our veggie plates while looking across the table into each others’ eyes remembering…She met me when I was wounded and sad. She was just the same back then.  We came together hesitantly in those early days of friendship, each of us with our own concerns about those fragile hearts beating on the inside where it hurts when things turn out badly. With one word and then another, a hug and a smile from day to day, we joined together in a journey of risk. We shared our histories as well as our hopes as each of us progressed toward wholeness. Her faith was deeper, stronger, and surer than mine and she shared her wisdom with me, always giving me hope that one day I would find that same solid place where she stood. It came, that day when I was sure of my place in God’s grace, and I realized what a significant role she had played in helping me find abiding peace.

She is the closest of all my long-standing relationships outside of family and it was with her I was able to find my first comfort after healing began. Now I see her intertwined so beautifully in that process and I’m so thankful she never gave up on me nor me on her. Mutual is a great word for describing our relationship. There is no one-sidedness. When she has struggled, I’ve come alongside. When I struggle, she offers a hand to hold. This has been true for 20 years…amazing for 2 who started a friendship at such a time as we did, but the benefits and blessings are just as wondrous.

Yesterday I had an awesome experience with another kind lady. She is someone I once worked with. During those years I thought well of her, but we had never talked privately or personally, just friendly hellos in passing. I found myself meeting her at Noah’s school early morning yesterday and learning we would be praying together for some of the teachers as part of teacher appreciation week. Prayer is usually a very private thing and, though willing, I had a little apprehension as we headed to our gathering place. If only I had known what God had in store! Within moments of hearing the prayerful words come from my prayer-partner’s parted lips, tears began to drip from my cheeks. How precious and wonderful it is to be joined as one-in-heart with our sisters-in-Christ. Her words expressed the very deepest of my own needs, desires and hopes.

I was blessed, strengthened and humbled…

Leaving about an hour later, I thought of the transformation that had taken place. We embraced as the one-in-heart we had found ourselves to be, in His perfect love, before parting. That is what this Christian walk is all about…

I thought of the prayers that were prayed, that God’s will be done in and through us, our children, our homes, our school; for Christ to be glorified and souls to be saved. That is the purpose. That is our purpose. Nothing else matters and all is well. May we rest in this eternal truth. There is great healing in finding ourselves firmly rooted in all of what matters and letting go of all the rest.

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