Okay, so here it is (O-dark-thirty) – 0226, or 2:26 AM to be exact, and here I am typing, as opposed to sleeping, on a project that was never intended – well, at least I didn’t intend on it. God? Now, that is a distinct possibility. In fact, I so believe it is God inspiring me to be up at this hour, typing this message, that I am actually doing it. Trust me, the selfish side is yearning for sleep, but I shall not cave. What’s it called? Obedience? Yes, indeed. So, I know you must be asking, “What is it that is so important it can’t wait until tomorrow?” Well, my friends, I had an epiphany. Epiph-a-what!?! Epiphany! Yes, of course, I fully intend to explain. Why else would I be up at this Godly hour? God said jump. I didn’t ask “How high?” I just started jumping.
This all started sometime last evening – yeah, let’s see, that would be Friday night, ’cause this is now Saturday. So, I was on Twitter – I don’t remember what time it was – but I ran across this ‘retweet’ [aka re-shared, or forwarded message – for those of you who aren’t Twitter(ers)]. The original tweet was from controversial author and political commentator Ann Coulter. I know; I know. Haven’t we been down this road before, Kevin? Put down the politics and back away. Yeah, well, another epic fail was imminent. I won’t go into the petty details. Let’s just say, I took the bait in addressing her provocative rhetoric. Why do I let these people get under my skin? Why!?!
Now, again, I did not use profanity, cuss her, etc. I didn’t attack her, per se. How–Ever… I might have suggested she was behaving in a “despicable” manner. In fact, I can’t say for sure – it’s kind of fuzzy and all – but I might have actually called her despicable. Yes… I… did. But, listen, you should have read what she… no, never mind. It doesn’t matter. Did she write about and perpetuate a provocative and utterly ridiculous narrative? Yes she did. That said, she wasn’t talking to me. She doesn’t even know me. She was simply doing – right or wrong – what political commentators do. She’s not responsible for how I react, or don’t. I am responsible for my own actions. I cannot, and will not, blame her. Besides, at the time I tweeted my response, I was feeling rather justified. That bully, Coulter, wasn’t going to bully people around – not if I can stop her. Someone had to put her in her place!
So, having successfully given her – Coulter – the “What for…” I wound myself back down, went to bed, and drifted off to sleep.
Bleep, bleep… buzzerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Yeah, that would be the annoying message-received notification on my cell phone… the one I forgot to silence when I went to bed. Oh, goody, I got a reply from Jeannie Ortega (at 12:24 AM, no less). “Jeannie Ortega?” you ask. Yeah, I don’t know much about her, but I know she just debuted a new song I listened to last night. I know that I really liked it. And, I know that I tweeter her – earlier in the evening, when people were still awake in certain parts of the world – to tell her I thought her voice, the song, and the song’s message were beautiful. How nice of her to thank me – at 12:24 AM. Do I sound bitter? You know, I actually was not – am not – at all bitter. In fact, this is where the story gets good, interesting, whatever.
Miss Ortega’s song, Never Been Hurt, really – as I shared with her – struck a chord with me. The message is clear. She wants to “love” like Jesus. Despite being hurt and scarred, she wants to move beyond the pain, and love, unconditionally, like Jesus did. She wants to know and share the same love Jesus had for us when He asked The Almighty Father to “forgive” us, as He hung there on The Cross, in our place. It is a powerful, powerful message, indeed. So, lying there at 12-something, my mind began to race, drifting back to that ill-advised tweet. Why could I not just let that go? Why could I not have met her hate with love? What is wrong with me? Nothing like having a pity party at O-dark-thirty! But, seriously, it was bothering me.
I laid there, relaxed, and began to collect my thoughts. This is important. It’s important I resolve this, once and for all. Why am I so tempted, feel so compelled to intervene? Why do I have this propensity for engagement, particularly on behalf of others when I see them as being or having been wronged? This, I must answer. Then, out of nowhere, it hit me. I am hurting! This is about me! No, no, no… That cannot be. After all, I am the tough, broad-shouldered, thick-skinned guy, the one who charges in to defend the innocent, the weak, the oppressed. I’m not the one who’s hurting. I don’t have open wounds. What scars!?!
Wow… All these years fighting other people’s battles, and I’m the one who needs saving. I was the one who needed to be defended.
(More on this to come – I assure you – in my Your Life Matters series.)
You know, I’ve had epiphanies before, but this light bulb was brighter than any I had ever seen. It shone all around. It illuminated and made clear that which had been buried in the farthest, darkest reaches of my mind. It was troubling, but it was also liberating. To think that while I was, my entire life, defending others, I was at the same time, exacting revenge and justice, vicariously. To realize I had been harboring such resentment all these years. Now, I could exhale.
Still, there is much work to be done. While, as one of my new friends so articulately wrote, I have “named” that which ails me – now, the real trials begin. I must now survey each of my wounds, each scar, and assess them. I must confront my affliction. I must ensure I have forgiven those who have injured me. I must ensure I have forgiven myself. If I truly want to “love” like Jesus, like I have, as Miss Ortega sings, “Never Been Hurt,” I must take up this yoke.
Friends, I apologize for this diversion from the path I asked you to accompany on. I must admit, though I told you it was a journey and I, for one, was prepared to go wherever it might take us, I was surprised by this. It truly was unexpected.
[Incidentally, I do recommend Miss Ortega’s song. You can find it on YouTube. I will attach a link later – but… I am tired. Blessings, my friends.]