I wish I could justify self-pity
Wouldn't life be so much easier if I could complain about the angst, and cry about the hurt, and rage about the injustice – and be perfectly entitled to it all?
I wish I could justify being offended
Wouldn't it be comforting to suddenly break down in tears and receive all the sympathy I want? Or to pour out the anger and weep out the frustration and pain – knowing full well that it's only MY feelings that are at stake here?
I wish I could justify feeling hard done by
Wouldn't it be satisfying to come down heavily on those who have walked all over me with no apology, knowing that I am in the right? To make them see the error of their ways, and to receive the repentance and the reparation that are owed to me in – let's face it – definitively large quantities?!
Oh! the party I could have with all this pain
The March Hare would hand me a cake knife and the Mad Hatter would be my guest, and together we would stomp our righteous feet all over the false apologies lingering amidst the tea cups. We'd deliberately upset the table that was laid to exclude us, we'd carelessly spill the hot tea that is steaming up our vision, and finally we would sit down to feast on the sweet justification of it all.
All that would be left is the crumbs.
The broken, pathetic pieces of anger. The scattered fragments of hurt. The collapsed bridges between me and whoever or whatever it was that dared to tower above me in an intimidating cake of expectations and assumptions, stuffed with unwanted words of malice and iced with a thick layer of plain old rudeness.
I could have my cake
and smash it, too, in the face of anyone who would try to hurt me. I could dominate the food fight, gleefully kicking at blind prejudice and cool indifference, and pushing back at the downright injustice that is daring to rise up against poor little ol' me.
You'd think I could justify all of these things.
But I can't
Slowly, we come to realise that we cannot justify reacting to such affronts with an even greater affront. I can no longer respond to unkindness with a larger slice of "hornery pie."
Because to do so would mean that I am only seeing one person in the picture.
And that is me
To indulge in self-pity, means to surround myself with darkened mirrors, so that my own hurt is all that is reflected in my world.
To bristle in offense, means that I am allowing another person's words – false or true – to dictate exactly how I will wear my feathers.
To live perpetually hard done by, is to deny myself the simultaneous pain and joy of healing.
If I am truly honest with myself
I will see that my attempts to justify self-pity and frustration and even anger will never work.
Because if I justify these things, then I must also justify something else that is equally undeserved and unfathomable, and that is just as freely dished out to me without being asked for. If I justify all these things...
Then I must justify grace.
And that is something I could never do. Not when I, too, am so dependent on the very thing I sometimes don't wish to extend.
So about that cake
Does this mean I won't fight the battle against injustice? Or that I will stand passive in the face of an unfounded attack on something pure and good?
Of course not! But my battle will be in the spirit of truth and love – not simply in an effort to pamper my own sweet little ego.
Does this mean I have got this all figured? Heck no! Am I likely to react with grace next time? Um... ask me next time.
I'm only human, but hopefully I'm a human being who is learning, and changing, and gradually overcoming the petulant demands of my wannabe food-fighting self.
Now might be a good time to sit down, take a deep breath and just eat that cake.
After all, some self-indulgences are good, right?
Adapted from an original post on: https://girlkaleidoscope.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/give-me-cake/
Emma is an Italian-South African with a New Zealand passport, living in Papua New Guinea. After years of running a puppet ministry and directing student choirs, she currently serves with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Emma's deep joy is in writing, music, playing with her ginger cats and finding God in unexpected places.
Emma McGeorge's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/emma-mcgeorge.html