I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON!!!! Can I exclaim that loudly and often enough so that I will believe it? She is me, and I am her. I am not the same person. And yes, Ms. 20 something, when you asked if people ever really change, and I look at you with my 40 something years, and reminisce on my 20 something self, I want to shake you and tell you yes, yes they do change. Yes I did change! But she is me, and I am her. Stop accusing me of not changing.
You didn’t really accuse me though, did you? You are just trying to find your way in life. You are trying to figure out what you are doing and how the world pertains to you. But in that moment, it felt like an accusation and a judgement. It felt as though the past I have been running from, trying to forget, was rushing upon me and I will never escape it. Never. It will, with all of its intentions, good and bad, show up and crush me at anytime. There is not a safe place on earth to be. There is nowhere to run, there is nowhere to hide. It will find me. She will find me, that 20 something self I do not care to know anymore. Will I ever be brave enough to stand up to her, face to face, and see her through the lenses of pity and forgiveness, rather than the feelings of shame and disgust? I am her, she is me.
There are holes in my heart. As I move along towards what is better, I often get sidetracked trying to seal the holes. I think they were intentional and strategic so the past would continue to have access to my heart. Call it a past’s act of prewar, placing cracks and holes while in disguise, sneaky like a Trojan horse. During my post war years, I have tried to cover the holes with a dense brick wall, no, really more like a heavy-duty iron molded heart cast. But somehow, I have not managed to conceal all of the cracks and holes.
Daily, I drag around the heaviness of that heart armor. I puff up and point it in the direction of my enemies, and especially towards anyone who is trying to find HER. She does not live here, I am not sure she even exists. My ginormous heart armor temporarily deflects attempts to locate her, but the exertion of the deflection takes its toll. I feel weary, and in that weariness, the sadness, anger and shame begin to overwhelm me. She is me, and I am her.
I can feel my heart getting harder and heavier with every challenge of my character, whether from myself, or from other life players, present but especially past. Do not pretend like you know me past. You do not. She is me, and I am her. Do not expect that we can pick up where we left off, because we can not. The past is where I want her to stay and now you have shown up here to try to lure her out. I ran away, and I built a magic fort to ward off this villainess character. She is not real. I chose to build my fort far far away. I built the walls high and strong. They contain today and all the stories that I choose to share. Maybe some real stories, maybe some half-truths, certainly not everything. I control what goes in my fort. She is a story, a character. My fort is strong. Stronger than you. She is not real. Do not stand at the gate of my fort. I will come to you. I will come to you swiftly and in control, do not come to me, for she is not real, here. I have spent half of my life building a fort so I do not even see you. I do not want to see you, I do not want to hear you. I am not her.
The only way to protect myself now, is to add a layer to my heart armor and keep moving toward the future. If I move fast enough, maybe nothing else will seep into the cracks and holes and this will be another story and that girl will jump back into the early chapters of my life and remain a two-dimensional character. One who has length and breadth, but no depth. I am not her, she is not me.
There are rare days, like today, when I feel like I am being pulled backwards. Most days, I feel like I am just spinning my wheels. The spiritual treadmill of life. Always moving, sometimes frantically, but never arriving, or seemingly ever getting any closer to my destination, where ever that is. I am on the treadmill, getting nowhere, and the pace is so slow, that I am not even burning calories. It seems, useless.
As I seek, as I pray, my heart asks, What do you want?
What is going to cause me to jump off of the treadmill and run on the road? What do you want Lord? Why do we keep coming back here? What is going to strengthen my heart to the point of bursting out of this broken armor and knocking down this shifting fort? What is going to make me STRONG, HEALED, REDEEMED, WORTHY?
In the day when I cried out, you answered me, and made me BOLD, with STRENGTH in my soul. Psalm 138:3
What will cause me to pick up my sword and slay all of the pasts and all of their villains for all of your people? I cannot be the only one. Father, I ask that you make me bold. And that small still voice whispers, You are her, and she is you.
To God be the Glory.