Provoked to Awaken

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Our enemies provoke us. Something in them calls out to something in us. We may not even realize it, but at the moment of trial, something inside awakens. There is only so much we tolerate. At first it is just uncomfortable but quickly moves to fearful. We want to flee the moment, but our adversary will not remove their foot. We start to squirm, trying to free ourselves but they press down harder. How long does an enemy’s foot have to stay on our neck before we decide enough is enough?

Something happens when the pain inside turns to anger at the injustice. Everything inside of us suddenly gets stirred up. Our anger pushes through some barrier, beyond fear and pain. We decide to give them a strong reason why they never should have put it there in the first place! Where did that come from, we suddenly wonder afterward.

Whatever rattled your cage now has a reason to be intimidated. Before, they were messing with the little you, the one that ignores the threats and confrontations. Now they are face to face with a giant that dwells inside you, one who will not stand for the injustice. They take a few steps back and now shy away from you. After all, nobody wants to mess with crazy. This may sound a lot like a physical encounter here, like in the case of a bully, but that is not what is being referred to here.

Life throws many punches and hits us in unexpected ways. While some can be avoided, no one can escape them all. Adversity has many faces. There have been so many challenges in my life when I thought I could not go on and simply could not see my way through something. Looking back, the road to where I am now was filled with numerous, seemingly insurmountable obstacles. However, in hindsight, they no longer look as big as they once did.

When something new and intimating comes knocking on your door, of course use good judgment, but also know there is something inside that will answer the call and declare when enough is enough.

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Airing out the Laundry

Photo by Elina Sazonova on

Is it me or are more people getting far too comfortable airing out their dirty laundry in public? By asking this question, I’m not referring to hanging clothes on a clothesline. I am asking about the drama between two or more people and the comfort level they feel to freely share that mess with the public.

Think about when you once had a new relationship, got upset with what the other person did, and started complaining about them to your friends or family. You should have been on the defense side, defending the one you love. But rather, you unknowingly presented evidence, building a case against them. You convinced them why you should not stay with that person. Then, after you calmed down and were levelheaded again, those around you filled your mind with doubt toward your partner. They did not have the benefit of the countless hours you spent getting to know each other. All they had to go off was the evidence you presented them. My point is to be careful in how you treat those you care about. The world will likely treat them in the same way, but magnified. 

Recently, when I left a restaurant, there was a beautiful young woman standing outside the door. Unknowingly, I nearly hit her with the door because she was standing directly behind it with her arms crossed, furious. On the bench seat in front of her was a handsome young man. “You always do this,” he said scornfully. It was a familiar thought I too had in times past. I felt embarrassed for them because the people standing around waiting to be seated stared at them in judgment. Neither seemed to care and fiercely lashed out at each other.

No doubt things can be hard, not only during the dating phase but in marriage also. Even minor things, when not properly dealt with can become huge barriers between people. It builds up to the point of eruption, at which point the damage multiplies, often with terrible timing. It’s not just couples who air their dirty laundry though. Family and friends do it as well. One thing about images is they are hard to get out of our minds. Once we see an image, we may completely forget what things used to look like beforehand. We can only see what is right in front of us. By airing out our dirty laundry, it shows the world all the things we would not want to be communicated about ourselves and the people we care about.

I’ve seen daytime television shows that revel in this sort of drama. People tear away at each other; the way crows and buzzards peck away at dead carcasses along the roadside. The verbal savagery is too much for me to watch. I wonder how anyone involved retains any sense of dignity after public humiliation like that. It almost seems made up; too bizarre to be true.

But I wonder if this type of behavior has become so common that it is what we’ve come to expect out of each other. I hope not, for our sake and that of future generations. I pray that we would pay closer attention and catch things while they are small. Perhaps then the issues could be discussed privately with a level head and keep all parties from embarrassing themselves in public. Let’s hold to the value of dignity that each human being deserves. Even when we are at a low place and deserve to be humiliated, let us rather find mercy standing above us, ready to lift us up to a higher place.