Oh, I have a fire in my belly and sometimes it doesn’t burn so pure. It threatens to hop out of its grate and scorch those that get in the way. I am so grateful for the responses to judgment or observation and how it helped me to see for myself where and how I want people to join me in my “righteous” flame. My reader responses were so thoughtful that I wanted to respond here in post rather than have it buried in the comment section. (The following, in most instances, contains my paraphrasing rather than direct quotations.)
Difference a Year Makes spoke of bringing our own eyes and filters to each situation. What a great little reminder of something that I often preach, but sometimes forget to practice ☺. In this case, my filter comes from someone who grew up quite familiar with judgments in general and Christian fundamentalism in particular. I have also been a mother who wonders when she might get the call that something has happened to her “not model” child. So, I get a little sensitive when all of those things collide together as they did in the referred to recent e-mail.
Gabrielle reminded me that we have the power to choose what we do with our observations and judgments. I can choose to hold onto thoughts and let them fester or I can let it go and transform into something else. Tess and Sunrise Sister let me know that my interpretation could be subject to another point of view. (Ouch! That one hurt a little and I really wanted to fight it.)
While the wording in the e-mail did indicate that prayer for the deceased (or perhaps one who takes one’s own life) might not be appropriate, I was reminded by Sorrow that the author was indeed seeking comfort for the family and not attempting to exclude anyone. She was trying to be respectful of other’s faiths. Furthermore, Barbara and my husband reminded me, there are wonderful, faith-filled people who do not believe in praying for the dead. While I still get caught on that one, I can let it go as a difference of opinion and not something I am called to judge. It is here I realized I wanted others to join with me and say, “That Faith is wrong!” Gabriella M. reminded me that I can accept someone without liking what they do.
The gracious words of those who love and tolerate my fiery nature led me gently back to the place I long to be. It is a place where I am not attached to my thoughts and thus they do not turn into judgments and I am at peace with the world and myself. It is a place where I recognize myself as fallible, broken and wondrous and I can see others that way too.
This time the fire briefly threatened to be one that could consume. Instead, my friends came around like gentle tenders of the flame, nurturing with word, musing and metaphor to keep the fire a place of warmth and safety rather than danger and destruction. Peace to each of you, fire tenders.
For those of you who did not read the responses to this post, I highly recommend you visit there for beautiful words of wisdom and grace.