“I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears
I hid from him, and under running laughter.”
― Francis G. Thompson, The Hound of Heaven.
I had a little work related stress,
And my apartment was a mess.
My boyfriend left town,
And my Internet was down.
I had a little anxiety
But no one could really help me, as you will see.
I'll spare you the details of what happened since
Remembering the first few months just makes me wince.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they all meant well,
But my life became a living hell.
Despite all my troubles, I want you to know
There is a very happy ending though.
But first I had to humble my pride
And give up all the hate that was inside.
Let's begin at the start
When I used to think I was smart.
So here goes . . . .
"I've got a little work related stress,
And my apartment is a mess.
My boyfriend left town,
and I'm feeling a little down"
"Let's try this and see if it works for you.
Just to take the edge off and relax you too."
I'm not trying to complain.
At least he gave what I had a name.
But why was I still in pain?
Why did everything irritate me;
Why did I get angry at everything I see;
Why was I lonely, bitter and sad?
When others were happy it made me feel bad.
I wondered: Am I just a chemical imbalance?
Am I just a body for men to use?
What they call love just makes me confused.
My parents kept saying I must be a success,
But nothing seemed to give me happiness.
What good is it if I succeed
If no one can give me an answer to what I need?
I went to the chaplain and she was nice.
She prayed with me, stayed with me and called me twice.
But why does everyone just want to comfort me?
Why can't I overcome, move on and and just be free?
Everyone is helpful and kind,
But why couldn't I leave my issues behind?
I heard someone talk about being free indeed,
It sounded like just what I need.
I joined a church and went twice a week.
Hoping to find the answers I seek.
I studied, sang and prayed,
But became uneasy the longer I stayed.
After the excitement wore off,
When I was home by myself,
I had to admit what I could tell no one else:
Inside I was still the same old self.
Something was missing. It is hard to describe.
I still felt empty inside.
So I kept on searching for the meaning of life.
Don't get me wrong.
It's nice to sing a song,
And memorize a Scripture or two.
But if the the dogma is rigid and the words insipid,
It's something I would rather not do.
I found another group that was all acceptance and hugs.
They had drums and a guitar (but no drugs).
There was clapping and singing, and swaying.
Positive thinking and lots of praying.
I don't want to be rude
But I had to conclude
They tried their best,
But like many men, they failed the test.
Decent and friendly and nice guys,
But just more emptiness in disguise.
So I threw in the towel
It was all beginning to sour.
I went back to my weed and speed.
But it didn't take me long to see that it was wrong.
Now I could see
it just wasn't me.
I needed more than people's comfort and being nice,
More than the drugs, the hugs, the songs and the words;,
More than study and the palliative prayer.
I wanted the answer that sets me free
To move forward and be a new me.
I found an Eastern philosophy
Which I heard about on TV.
And I also tried East/West spirituality.
They talked about enlightenment and tranquility,
But they struck me as selfish and all about oneself.
Like being self preoccupied and sitting on the shelf.
Something about it just didn't feel right.
It was close to what I wanted, but not quite.
I went back to the university.
It was a relief to talk about sustainable development and diversity,
And not about religion or eternity.
The rebellion and free lifestyle were inviting.
The football and parties were exciting.
But it struck me as hollow and empty,
A juvenile rebellion against authority,
Or an intellectual rebellion against God, you see.
And the shallow selfish people I saw graduate
Made me want to hesitate.
I began to resent them all for not being there for me.
First my dad then every other authority.
I resented them for their shallow answers
Or for their glib answers
To persuade me, to intimidate me
To speak condescendingly.
It was all about party time,
The bottom line,
Or the party line.
I could not let go of judgment and resentment
toward those who robbed me of my contentment
I was full of contempt for their weakness
And anger over their pretense.
And I resented myself too.
I was so full of hate, what else could I do?
I resented everyone for not having love for me.
I was filled with anger and blame, it was plain to see.
But at least I was on the verge of seeing what was wrong with me.
Each day at the park I watched the little kids play.
Full of happiness and joy and never a bad day.
I pondered the difference between them and me.
And slowly I began to see.
What I was like when I was small I had forgot.
There's only one difference between them and me.
I am resentful and they are not.
Thinking back to earlier years,
I began to see what started my decline to emptiness and tears.
I resented my mom and my dad, you see.
I especially resented my dad for not being there for me.
I hated my life too and everything about myself,
And then it spread over the years to everyone else.
I resented my peers, my partner, my kids and my luck too.
My job, my boss, and My God! Even You.
Resentment became a way of life.
The loser's way of avoiding strife.
Judging and angry at everything, it seemed harmless at the time.
A way to judge underneath, but pretend everything was fine.
It gave me a secret ego satisfaction -
A loser's way of getting even.
It was a secret reaction.
On the surface I smiled, but underneath I was was judgmental and mean.
"I'm a nice person" I would always say.
"Just look at all I've done for others today."
But it was service out of guilt for resenting their demands.
I could claim to be a martyr that no one understands.
All of this and much more I began to see
I couldn't duck the truth, it was as plain as it could be.
But now instead of resenting truth, I was saddened about what I had discovered,
About the sneaky hate and hostility that had been uncovered.
I could not change myself, though regretting what I see.
So now I was in quite a quandary.
Wanting to change but not knowing just how,
My dilemma was finally solved, and I'll show you now:
When something about yourself you see
That you would rather not be.
But you've found that struggle and trying just make things worse.
The solution is so simple, it is found in the following verse.
Just regret what you see about yourself.
Don't try to charge with any effort.
Quietly bear the brief pain of seeing - just do that and nothing else.
It is God's light, we call conscience, which is making you see.
God is present, and the sadness is in His Light by which you see.
When you know the sadness you feel is because of God's good Light
This realization is a great comfort to the soul who now yields to what is right.
The changes you want will happen in God's due time.
So just relax and you'll be fine.
I walked around and was sad about what I discovered.
But I sensed that my innocence and sweetness I had recovered.
So I just bore the pain without trying to change.
Soon I began to shed a quiet tear over what I saw about myself.
I was sad, then glad, then relieved, I must confess,
To just come clean and let God clear up my mess.
I experienced something profound,
Repentance I had found.
Not of myself but of He.
God's light was repenting me.
It was like a purging and catharsis of my wrong
What I couldn't do myself, He can because He is kind and gentle and strong.
First the pain, followed by sadness, then the soul bursts into song,
Because I know the quiet joy that He has forgiven me of my wrong.
After I was purged I was free to see
One by one, what was wrong with me.
Each time the same process: first pain, sadness then relief.
After being sorry, I found peace beyond belief.
Every day a little pain to bear,
Regret, forgiveness and then joy without compare.
Each day the pain is less but the wrong more subtle,
Seeing all the wrong inside bursts the ego's bubble.
One day there will be no more wrong to see,
Just peace of mind and a life of discovery.
Repentance is God's way, and anyone who tries to imitate it or force it
Will just interfere but never replace it.
Repentance is God's plan for recovery.
That's why outside reassurance and consolation
Will only make you guilty, because they rob the soul of repentance.
Covering up wrong with assurance, reassurance, and affirmations
Interfere with the Light and its redeeming and shaming presence.
The lesson is clear
You can't repent yourself.
Just be willing to be humbled and shed a tear
And wait for God to draw near.
When you are not right inside
Pious words and gestures only support pride.
You become a model of hypocrisy
Because others can see your inconsistency.
In our pride and with our ego's short sight.
We think we have to make something happen with effort and with might.
That is how our ego blocks God's redeeming light.
Our biggest error is resenting His light
Or suppressing what is wrong to keep it out of sight,
When what you should be doing is exposing it to the light,
Just regret your wrong without trying to make yourself right,
Wait for repentance and change in the Light.
And here is something else profound,
When resentment is gone, love is there to be found.
God's love warms the soul and takes away the need.
Now you can forgive others for their misdeeds.
You always craved something from them and resented when they didn't have it.
Now you know why they didn't have love, because they hadn't found it.
You see, when they were little they were victims too
That's why they didn't have love for you.
So now I made what was done to me unimportant,
And became unblocked and even cleaned up my apartment.
I was happy and care free, and moved forward with living.
I had found the answer, and it is this:
To be more forgiving.
And when you forgive others by dropping resentment,
God forgives you, and you find peace and contentment.