When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Beauty, courage, honor? Laughing eyes, a kind smile? Or is it cowardice, fatigue … that one mole, that strand of hair just out of place …
I climbed Mt. Fuji this weekend. Persevered through the night, toiled up some 7000ft of altitude increase, watched the sunrise — the works.
I also drove around the streets of Tokyo on a go-kart dressed as Luigi.
And found tasty craft Hitachino beer.
Bucket list = check. So why don’t I feel fulfilled?
The answer, as always, comes down to people. I feel off-kilter because, frankly, I can’t be home with my family.
When things go wrong, and the people I love hurt, I’m thousands of miles and three continents away.
I can’t be there to comfort them; I can’t be there to distract their tears. I can’t sit with them in silence, not ever really knowing the words but hoping my presence was enough.
Illness strikes. Injustices occur; my sisters are insulted. Sometimes I find out, sometimes I’m so far away people don’t bother, because I’m here, tied to my duty in Japan. Something quite understandable, and yet …
It makes me feel awful.
Which brings me to my main point — sometimes the hardest and most necessary thing is learning to forgive ourselves.
I recently met a young woman who had not only convinced herself but actively sought to convince others that she was soul-less/conscience-less/unworthy, due to some regrettable decisions taken in the aftermath of an extremely difficult period. Ideal? Not really. Unconscionable, unforgivable? Hardly.
It is well known that we are all our own harshest critics.
When asked to list the things you love, how long would it be before you named yourself?
Could you even list five positive traits about yourself before slipping into equivocation? And yet, how fast could your family rattle that list off? Your brother, your best friend? When you reach the end of your life, do you think you will be stared down, confronted by a stern-faced St. Peter, ready to beat you with a list of your sins?
Isn’t that the whole point of forgiveness? Isn’t that the whole point of grace?
We are all going to fail. We will.
- We will forget birthdays, forget anniversaries.
- We will make “silly” mistakes that rain misery and hellfire down on our coworkers for weeks.
- We will blunder through social niceties, tread roughshod over other people’s feelings, and frankly not be there when our friends need us the most.
- We will hurt those we love and will likely cause more pain we ever could have imagined.
It’s just going to happen. It is. (Maybe that’s just me … unlikely, but possible.)
The good news is that God doesn’t hold all of that against us.
Love has a funny way of overlooking those things.
Is it logical, is it reasonable? Absolutely not. Is it the only thing holding us together?
So yes, this may be the one time it might be best to look at yourself from another’s point of view. Not to minimize your own valuable perspective, but to remind you that your sins/faults/mistakes are not the final answer.
Sometimes, all you really do need is love.
About Brett Beeson
Brett Beeson, officially, is a Lieutenant JG in the United States Navy, currently attached to DDG54 Curtis Wilbur out of Yokosuka, Japan. She graduated in 2014 from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Arabic and a minor in Spanish. Unofficially, she is the “evil twin” (one of Jory’s twin daughters), that annoying-friend-who-won’t-stop-calling perpetual questioner, ice cream enthusiast, scribbler, roarer-of-laughter, and eternal student of God’s amazing mysteries. After extensive travel in Morocco and Oman, she has become passionate about furthering her/our understanding of the Middle East and Islam. To enjoy more of Brett’s writing, please visit Randomness with Brett.