It happens every few years. Each time, it catches me by surprise. Every time I tell myself that I won’t put my heart & emotions through the pain again. Yet, it comes around again.
Every so often, someone comes into my life that causes me to question who I am as a person. I begin to question my own integrity & trustworthiness. I am skeptical and doubtful of my truthfulness & honesty. I contemplate whether I have a heart of compassion, as I proclaim, or a stone cold heart with a fuzzy blanket covering it. All my questioning comes down to one big question.
Am I a fake?
Somehow, each time that I wrestle with this, I always feel like I am the only one who has this internal battle. The truth is that I know better than that. I know that I have friends that at any given time are battling this dark idea that they are less of a person than they really are.
So why do I allow myself to have this battle inside of me so often? Shouldn’t I be secure in who I am? Why would I question things that I feel describe the core of me?
The reason is that I think, in some crazy way, I like the battle.
I like having to wrestle with the idea that I am not perfect. I prefer to figure out my flaws & faults before someone else has to painfully express them to me. I would rather determine if I have hardened my heart towards something long before others discover my heart is turning to stone. I want to remind myself that I am not perfect.
I reopen my wounds & reflect on all my scars. I see all the marks that past battles have left on my heart & I examine them carefully. I search through all of them to determine which ones have been repeated over time & which ones I have mastered. I become acutely aware that I am a work in progress & that I still struggle over & over again with the same things. It is a little frightening to think that I seem to have to revisit the same lessons time & time again.
I would like to think that it makes me a better person. Maybe that is wishful thinking. However, I realize that as I face some of my darkest moments during these experiences, I tend to grow older through them as well. I gain a perspective I would never have if I simply went through life believing that I was as good as I claimed.
I also learn through it more about my heart. I learn what I truly stand for & what I will readily sacrifice. I see (although very painfully) my faults & claim them. I realize how many times I fail & strive to grow better.
It is never a quick process. It is something that will haunt my thoughts at night & steal away moments of a still day. It is a battle that can consume my emotions so much that my heart physically aches. Yet, it is a glorious moment when the battle has finished & I feel the weight being lifted off my heart.
Yes, it is a painful experience. It is lonely. It is dark. It is quiet. It is needed. It is healing.