“The heart’s dead are never buried.” Samuel Hoffenstein
Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back. Luke 6:37-38
For many years, I endeavored to hold every grievance, every mean word, every judgment, every abandonment, within my heart. I meant to smile sweetly while holding them all accountable, cutting them off, doing unto them. I would remember, and protect myself. I would never allow any one to hurt me twice.
But when I realized what kind of life that would mean for my children, who they would never know, what memories we would never make, I realized that maybe to have a life worth living I had to let go of a lot of pain. Maybe to find joy, I would have to release the people who have hurt me to God. Maybe He could protect me better than I could. Maybe peace could be found in going to God for healing, kneeling before Him to satiate my need for retribution.
Let me just say: it’s easier said than done. I do alright for a while, and then some one will say something in passing that pricks something deep in the center of me, and the flood of a memory of pain comes rushing in. I am always surprised at how real and present I can be in a pain I thought was healed. How can it catch me by surprise as I’m washing dishes, stunning me into paralysis? My renewed shock and hurt appall me. Lord, I thought this was over.
And I am back, back in that place alone two years ago or ten, and I am fighting some old battle, surviving some healed wound. And I wonder why it can’t be over and done with, why some things come back again and again: corpses I yearn to bury, keep forcing back in their coffins, only to feel them unearth themselves and rattle around in my battered heart.
It’s stuff only my husband and my Savior knows, stuff that’s deep and stuff that may seem silly. We all have our weaknesses, our pains, our insecurities. And we all can recount the times in our lives where our weak meets someone else’s weak, someone else’s rage, or someone else’s indifference.
I’ve been memorizing Luke 6:37-38 because I struggle with resurrecting hurts and the need to forgive again and again people who cut deep and splinter heart muscle. I struggle with the ones who just can’t see me the way they should, with a reality of misunderstandings and mislablings and wrong judgments. We all have those people, don’t we? I long to high-horse above them; I want to shake my finger and send every sinner to confession. Because I’m the one who should be judging, deciding, setting things right.
That judgy finger I want to shake needs to be turned right around at my own sinful heart, at the people I hurt without knowing it, at the friends I snub and boss and judge.
But I think it is more than that: it’s more than me just needing an attitude adjustment. It’s also about just looking for something higher than retribution. I want, instead, the good measure. I want balm for my wounds, wine for my cup, oil running down. I want to be filled with the good things of God, the healing of his love, the everlasting. I know there is no end to what people will do, what I will do to others. But His measure will outlast all the hurt we can inflict upon each other, all the wounds, all the dead who won’t stay buried.
for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
So I kneel and I ask for more to give, more to love, more to heal. And when I am desperate in my lonely hurts, sometimes I simply pray,
I know you see me, Jesus. I know you see me, Lord.
In my kneeling I receive and in the forgiving I receive. In the hurt I look up, and I forgive and bury my dead again. And maybe my whole life is learning to bury the heart’s undead, to relinquish this need for everything to be Taylor’s way, to humble and accept the good measure.
I know you see me Lord. And I want your measure. Fill me up, drown me in love. You are all the good I need.