Wednesday, January 10, 2018

When Loving Means Walking Away~

Sure, I've got that.

Not the kind that runs 10k marathons.
Not the kind that climbs Mt. Everest.
Not the kind that types away on the keyboard until the last word of a 698 page novel is on paper.
(At least, not yet, anyway.)

No, my kind of perseverance usually shows up
in a beat-your-head-against-a-wall-that-isn't-budging
kind of way.

Blow after blow after blow,
I keep going at it.

Day after day,
month after month.

My latest attempt has been a 5 month one.
And, I am sad to report,
the wall I was up against hasn't budged an inch.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.

In fact,
to an onlooker looking in at this wall,
no visible sign
of any kind of ongoing battle
or attempt to move it
would be seen.

Aahh....but turn your eyes in my direction,
and it's easy to see
battle scars of every kind,
still fresh,
declaring to all,

Five whole months, -
one month short of being half a year's time,
and nothing to show for it but
lessons learned.

(Because we all know,
tucked into every battle,
woven into every challenge,
God is faithful
to instruct us,
to teach us,
to mold us and remake us more into His image
if we are faithful to mine through
all the muck and all the mire
to obtain His treasure,
all the while allowing the Holy Spirit
to have His way in our life.)

Lesson # 1:
(and I will admit this came as a true shock to me!)
Help Can Be Toxic

For the past five months,
I have been trying to help my mother.
Only my mother
didn't want my help.

I felt she desperately needed it,
while she on the other hand,
was desperate for me to stop handing it out.

The more I tried to help,
the more she resisted.

This was our wall.
And, a wall erected in any relationship is never good.
Faster than you can say
"but I was only trying to help",
our relationship turned toxic.

For her. For me.

"Go home."

My mom told me.
My sister told me.
My mom's sister told me.

So, I did.

Shattered. Broken in a million pieces.
Feeling like a complete and total failure.
Three days ago,
I came home.

the words of a text message from my mom
when I arrived home:
I know you were trying to help,
but the help you were giving
was the wrong kind of help needed.

And I learned one of the hardest,
yet most valuable lessons of my life:
When the only kind of help you know to give is wrong,
it's not help at all.
You might as well go home.

Lesson #2:
(only because of lesson #1)
It's Ok to Walk Away Sometimes

this lesson was even harder to swallow
than the first one.

My father passed away 14 years ago.
My mother is now 82.
My mother's home is a day's drive away
from me and my other two sisters.

when you feel your mother needs help,
do you walk away?

when as a child your mother was there for you,
do you walk away?

when you worry and wonder how she will be,
do you walk away?

And most difficult of all,
when you feel God called you there to help her,
do you walk away?

Not easily,
not quickly,
not neatly,
that's how.

That's why it's taken 5 months.
That's why it wasn't until the toxicity level of our relationship
was sucking the very life out of both of us,
that I finally packed my bags for good.
That's why I'm so weary and worn
and completely undone.
(and truth be told,
she probably is, too.)

It's not easy to walk away from the one you love,
but maybe,
it's ok to walk away.

it's the only way.

Lesson # 3:
Knowing Doesn't Take Away the Sting

Just because you've learned your lessons,
and just because you've made your choices
based on the lessons you've learned,
doesn't mean you will walk away "unharmed".

You will still feel the sting.

There is a part of me that stills wonders
if I could have done more,
if I could have done it differently,
if I could have budged that wall -
but wondering doesn't change what has happened,
and wondering doesn't change what is.

And what is
has left a huge sting in my heart.

And maybe,
just maybe,
this is the sting of love.

Love never fails.
~1 Corinthians 13:8

Yep, I've got that, too.

Not the kind of love that knows how to help.
Not the kind of love that knows when to walk away.
Not the kind of love that knows the thrill of victory.
(At least, not yet, anyway.)

No, my kind of love usually shows up
with a sting,
but that's ok.

If true love means

giving the only kind of help you know
(even if it's wrong),

crying a million tears and enduring sleepless nights
filled with "why can't I?"
and "how can I do better?"
and "God, please forgive me",

trying until your heart
(and the heart of your loved one)
is torn, battered, bruised, and beyond exhausted,

walking away when it's the last thing you think you should do,
and one of the hardest things you ever will do,
for the good of the one you love,

than I am a lover extraordinaire.

And, I am trusting in the One
who taught us how to love in the first place, -
believing that -
in the end,
true love
(no matter how it might look,
no matter how it might seem sometimes,
no matter if it looks as though
it has loved and lost)
never fails.

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