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Monday, May 09, 2005

Dealing with Hate

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
I'm sure you have all missed my rants.
Now, it is time for a rant against the most flawed egotistical jerk in my world.
The concept I want everyone else to carry out is distinctly absent from my life.
Okay, enough, here we go, this is going to hurt.
Last week, some major things went down involving some people in my life. Two friends of mine wronged another friend, perhaps one of the closest of all my friends, basically a friend since birth. My other two friends did something absolutely terrible to my good friend, not only betraying her trust, but taking something away from her that was not their's to take. I am sure you all want more details, but unfortunately, this rant is about me.
Well, my good friend called me as soon as the whole thing went down, absolutely devastated. I was at work, in my swamp habitat, actually waist deep in water at the time.
The year so far has been very interesting for me. Many of you know, I graduated college in the fall and have spent the last five months working for my dad as a crawfisherman here in the strange swamp of south central Louisiana with only a two week trip to Europe three months ago breaking this constant.
It has been strange, working in a huge, muddy, weed-filled reflection of the sky for the last five months, my own reflection constantly distilled by the images of myself I have compiled in 23 years of memory, completely alone except for mudbugs, snakes, and the constant contemplation of 23 years of life led to an uncertain crossroad.
Everyday there is me, and well...there is me.
As I pulled myself out of the water and plopped into the old pickup truck I throw my writhing bounty into, listening to my friend crying her eyes out as she told me what happened, my heart filled with anger. As I hung up the phone, tears filled my eyes, as well, and I stared off at the water through dirty old windows.
My first thought was, don't punch the window! That is stupid, you are not a dumb caveman, you do not break things!
Then, I saw a few loose crawfish scuttle by in the dirt, and I thought, you will not jump out of this truck and start crushing them. They are living creatures, and you are not a child.
That's right, I thought. I'm not a child. I'm the goddamn best person in the world. I'm God's greatest creation. Of course I'm not going to hit something. Of course, I'm not going to crush some innocent little creatures. That's not me. I'm above things like that. Then, I went back to work, but my heart was heavy.
For the remainder of the day, I talked to my good friend several times, and became increasingly angry with what our other two friends had done to her. One of the friends was her boyfriend, you see, and a brother to me. The other had been one of her best friends for a very long time, and a friend to me for a while, as well. As the day went on, I went from infuriated, to almost incapacitated with hatred. I forgot every value or ethic I believed in. My eyes filled with blood.
Then, I opened my mouth, and my mind, and let the garbage spill out.
But, I forget something. I pretend to serve a God that loves unconditionally. I pretend to understand unconditional love myself.
Regardless of the horrible things my friends did to my good friend, and to a lesser extent, me, I am still supposed to love them, right?
It doesn't make any fucking sense at all, though, does it? I mean, they wronged one of my best friends, they wronged me in the process, and I am supposed to love them? Who came up with this horseshit? I mean, it's not like I've ever done anything wrong. It's not like I've ever hurt anybody. I'm the best goddamn person in the world. I'm God's greatest creation.
One time, I told a woman who had a mentally disabled child whose mind would never progress past the age of two that I bet she wished she had had me instead of her "retarded" son. One time, as the same woman's son was playing, I purposely hit him in the head with a baseball, then hid so he would think his sister did it, and he did, and he kicked her, and he hit her. Sometimes, I fantasize that I am making love to another man's wife, and in my imagination she likes it very, very much. I have told so many lies I can't even remember what many of them were, I only have the "rewards" I got as a result, the trophies. I have purchased things that cost the price it would take to feed a child for a year, and I have left them in the corner, and let them fill with dust as my reflection in them grows dimmer and dimmer. One time, my sister made me angry, and I told her "Burn in hell, bitch!" and I meant it. One time, I almost sent my brother to the hospital because he accidentally ate my breakfast.
I'm the best goddamn person in the world.
I'm a piece of shit.
God, this strange abstract concept of a friend I have, apparently thinks I am as good as anybody else, though, and every time I do something wrong, He has to watch, and He loves me, and for some reason, I don't even have to pay equally for every wrong act I commit, because He came to Earth and died as penance for every single one of them.
If someone asked me to climb up on a board, nail myself to it, and let them cut me for every bad thing they had ever done, I would tell them in the thickest country brogue I could muster to go fuck themselves. Apparently, God and I are very different.
And that is why I am one miserable son of a bitch. Every act that I commit against the tenants of God to make myself happy only makes me more dissatisfied, and, in this case, cutting down these two people who wounded someone so dear to me with their terrible act-cutting them down lower than anything I have ever stepped in only made me feel dissatisfied. So now, not only am I distraught for what they have done, I am distraught for what I have done.
Yet, I cannot judge my good friend for hating, because she was wronged far more than I was, and hating is sometimes a part of grief, and none of us are God but God, and if there is hate in her heart, I have no business to condemn her, because I am not the judge of any person's heart.
One of the only good things I did after this terrible event transpired was to build up and encourage my good friend, because she was faultless in the whole ordeal, and she is an awesome incredible person coping with events she did not deserve to have to face, and she needed and still needs her other friends to be there for her, and we will be there, and we love her. I hope and pray that she will one day be purged of all the grief that has been forced upon her, and can trust again, after her trust has been so brutally devoured. I pray that she will be able to move on and live a happy life.
But, now, I pray for my other two friends, as well. I do not pray that they burn in hell. I do not pray that their genitals fall off, or that they get in a car wreck and die, or that everytime they look in the mirror, they will face the same experience that I do-the experience of staring into a reflection and seeing in it not only myself, but also every good thing I have ever killed.
I pray that God will help me to forgive them. I pray that God will help me to love them, as He loves me. I pray that God will restore them.
I pray that God will restore me.
Because hate is like a cancer. It eats away at the good in us. Without God in my life, that hate would eat away until I became the emotionless destroyer, the terrible judge I see in my nightmares that carries out justice to all who wrong, kills every bad thing, kills every good thing.
Those two friends of mine may no longer fall into the category of "friend" but they are still human beings that deserve grace just as much as I do, and for any student of Christianity, you know that grace is grace because we don't deserve it, but we are given it anyway, and now I am very tired, and pimples have broken out on my forehead from worry and grief, and I am filled with regret that I could not simply build up and not tear down, but it is too late, now, and I have repented, and that is all I can do, and I am very, very tired, and there is grace for us all, and tonight, when I sleep, I hope I dream of things I do not deserve, and not things that I do.


-E said...

Heh, there aren't any easy words to offer you or your friend that was wronged so. I was put in a place where I could hate or forgive. And it wasn't easy. That's when God told me what forgiveness is. That is doesn't mean I have to like the guy that hurt me. It doesn't mean I have to ever speak to him again. It doesn't even mean I have to acknowledge he is alive. It does not mean I cannot be angry with what happened or do what I can to prevent that from happening to myself or anyone else.

What happens is when someone commits a wrong, the idea of justice requires that wrong be paid back. That's what indemnification is (and alas where I came up with what my blogger address is). But sometimes there are instances where the wrong commit is so great that there is not anything the perp can do to repay that debt. And it creates a connection between the one commiting the crime and the one suffering. What forgiveness is is wiping that slate clean and not requiring that wrong be paid back. It is you not wanting anything from the perp. It is cutting that connection of them owing you anything. It allows you to be whole without that payment. It is what allows you to be complete.

*hug* I hope that both you and your friend are able to get to that point. And I hope those two guys realize what they did and why it hurt anyone else and don't do it again. Ever.

Anonymous said...

That's something I don't begin to understand: How we are such awful creatures but are the ones to receive such loving grace and unconditional love. I've always been in awe of this and, my last year at college and for a couple years after, I went through the lowest period in my life, in terms of how I felt about other humans. I knew I wasn't perfect. But, I saw flaws more sharply and they hit me deeper at that point in time because I couldn't understand having the gifts we have, the gifts of reason and understanding and caring and compassion, and still be so hateful and unkind toward others. Heck, I still sometimes fall into that and have to be reminded that it's not all like that.

Just as with you, Nic, even within myself, I struggle with the thoughts and actions that make me want to hate myself. I look at the flaws that make me less than great. I should be so big and grand as all that, but...I'm not. And I'm surprised when people think I have things down pat when, inside, I still think thoughts I shouldn't think and feel emotions that are destructive. Some are just better at hiding their flaws than others; we all are scarred with the burdens that we aren't willing to let go of. I still retort words that make me cringe because they are from the who I was due to things that happened to me in the past: I have to stop myself and wonder why I can't let her go, why I can't just stop the bitter flow. Especially when the torrent is directed at someone I love, someone who is helping me past what has troubled me for far too long.

*sighs* I say that I fell in a chasm because I hated people. I thought I was fine because I wasn't really condemning God or questioning Him. But, after truthful consideration, I realized that my inability to trust any other person showed a great lack of trust in God. I can't feel this way toward His creation and still be in His will, a reality I was blind to. Finally, I allowed myself to be opened up. I forgave the two people I believed had wronged me the most. I had to give up thinking that I was owed more than what I had been given. I lost so much of myself during that time and hadn't even realized it.

And only then did I begin regrowth. Luckily, I was able to be molded back to where I needed to be, more closely resembling what God had intended for me.

You're right, Nic, in saying that hate is much like a cancer, growing and spreading from part to part. It blinds you first so you don't see the rest being eaten away. The hardest thing for many of us to do is understand the idea that we all commit wrongs. Who's to say that my wrongdoing is "not as bad" as someone else's? I'm not a good judge, obviously. And...I'm not where I want to be, not the person I dream of being. But because I'm still growing, I'm definitely not who I was, riddled with disfiguring hate and pain.

I'll be praying for you. (Sorry this is so bouncy and poorly worded: I've had a long, stressful day and am not thinking as clearly as I could. And yeesh, hon, give people more than a few hours to read and respond, eh? I'm just catching up to people's posts... *winks*)

John T. Meche III said...

The other day in English our professor asked us "Who is the worst sinner we could think of?" I immediately bypassed Hitler, Napoleon, and Stalin and focused on one man and one man alone: myself. I am the worst sinner that I can think of. Ever after we discussed one of Hitler's henchmen who did surgery on Jews with no anestesia and burned children alive...even after we talked about a mother who fooled and then killed her own children for no reason at all...I thought of myself as the worst sinner I could think of. No one has been in my head. No one knows the personal atrocities I have committed. In my mind at least, I could give Hitler and Charles Manson a run for their money. As long as we remain the worst of sinners to ourselves, we will be the most thankful receivers of Grace in our lives.

Nicholas said...

To -E: I thanked you someplace else already, but thanks again. You rock!

To Jess: Thank you for your prayers and wise words. Trust is so hard, but it's so neccessary. I remember a period where I withdrew from everyone I knew about two years ago because I thought I couldn't trust anybody, and all that caused was more pain, and it certainly didn't bring me closer to God. You sure are right about the relationship between trusting God, and trusting his creation. That is something I definately need to keep in mind.
Also, sorry about my "only one comment" comment. I was trying to be self-deprecating, but it came out as a whiny attack on other people, instead. You were right to call me on it. Thanks for keepin me straight!

To Meche: Thank you for your wise words, as well. You are sounding an awful lot like Paul, which actually isn't very awful at all. I have been studying his books a lot this spring, and he has become one of my favorite writers, where before, I wasn't as open to some of the things he had to say. That was certainly my loss.
When are we trashing my sister's apartment?

Wolfe said...

Did not read this until this morning, because I have been trying desperately to study for my remaining finals.

I understand it, I do, and I am trying so hard to find something in my heart. I want to forgive them, I want to feel some peace. And, I feel the guilt each time I pray for holding on to this hate and rage. But, the anger is dwindling down, and the sadness is building back up.

It hurts to miss two people so much, to know that they are not alone like me. Haven't spoken to him in three days, the longest we've gone in years upon years, and I assume this stretch to continue indefinitely. I know it is better to not speak to him, it will help me heal...yet, I crave to know if he's still upset. Does he still feel guilty, does he think about me every day? Or, has she erradicated me from his mind completely, was he able to shut his love off in one week's time?

Its killing me to not know what he is feeling right now, although maybe it would kill me worse to know that he is okay, and not plagued with thoughts of me every hour.

I want to find that magical button, that one he obviously pushed to clear his mind and his heart of me. I honestly thought I meant so much more than this.

And, as it all runs through my brain, I find it impossible to forgive. She did this to me on purpose, and she shows no remorse. I am so afraid he is over me, already, I am so afraid he is forgetting his guilt and living a carefree life. And, these thoughts kill me, they hurt so badly, because I am still miserable, I am still whiny, and I don't know how I will trust anyone ever again.

But, each night I come closer to forgiving them....because that is what God needs me to do. No matter how much it hurts.