There’s a phrase in French that means ‘we never know anything completely.’ It’s a truth I find great comfort in. The reality is, there’s just so much of life that is unknown. The older I get the more I know that there is so much I don’t know. I absolutely don’t know more things than I do know. This could be unnerving and make a person feel ignorant or unprepared but it could also evoke a sense of peace like, I don’t know but it’s okay that I don’t know, you know?
Passion is a great attribute as long as one knows where to aim that blowtorch of energy. Imagine if Mother Theresa was passionate about stealing instead of giving. What if Hitler had used his leadership to repair the world rather than rip it apart? Passion can either heat up an icy heart to the perfect degree or burn down a building of refugees. It’s not so much about our sins or our virtues as it is what we do with them. Writing my memoir has put me in a reflective state mainly about me, myself and I. That, coupled with the stages of life and how God is continually prodding me in the direction to make what’s great greater, has taught me to never say never. It’s not that we can’t, it’s just that we shouldn’t because it’s not true. The cliché is a cliché for good reason. Funnily enough, I’ve used it before as a focal point for one of my characters in my YA novel, My Famous Friend. I’ve known these three words long enough to use them in my literature, though I cannot deny my personal, very serious of it. I have vowed the opposite, to always say never whenever I possibly could.
I used to love saying never, I love the pronunciation of these letters together. How it starts with a cacophonous n, swings up to a euphonious e and glides over a v and the slams to a hard r at the end. Never. Think of it in terms of dialogue; “Would you ever leave me?” He asked
“Never” she told him.
“Will you ever love me?”
“Never” she said.
It’s sounds so severely final. I like for things to be definite, even if that means they are over, I like closure. Finality is okay with me. An end is something that I find easy to understand. It’s the waiting or the not knowing or the what’s going to happen next churning in my gut that makes me nervous. The reality is though, we don’t always know. I don’t always know and that’s okay. I only know myself and my thoughts, I don’t know what God’s going to do but sometimes I just convince myself that I do. I can get so sure of what I think I know that I convince myself it must be the way God is handling it. Writing a memoir makes a person see how one-sided things can be. I figured before I wrote mine I’d read a few. I picked up Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman and then read the other side of a drug smuggling love affair that led to women’s prison in Out of Orange by Cleary Wolters. Same story, same events, same people involved, two totally different perspectives.
Personally speaking, forgiveness is hard. I mean punch you in the gut and kick you when you’re down hard and this is coming from someone who knows forgiveness to the degree of which it has saved my soul. Christ forgave me so now I am graciously pardoned from flames and the everlasting absence of hope. Even so, I found it so hard to let go. Crazy, I know. The one who has been forgiven much forgives much. For awhile I couldn’t stop justifying things because of the intensity of my pain, never mind the fact that I know harboring life’s trivial drama means I will not be forgiven myself. I hurt so much for such a long time. I wanted to let it go but I couldn’t, actually I just wouldn’t. I wanted to erase things from memory or I wanted a do over, or someone to kick my ass for reciprocity. Letting it go, asking for forgiveness and then forgiving myself seemed too easy.
The deeper I delved into my own life story through the pages of experiences I’ve been typing up I realized this cave of penance I was hiding out in was a bit mental. Working 9-5 does not earn someone salvation. We do not earn the forgiveness of Jesus, we ask and it is given. I knew this but stubborn reasoning was standing in the way of my freedom. I hid in the brick and mortar structure I was enforcing every day, shouting “don’t let me out!” Whenever a key would turn in the lock. I honestly believed the lie that the things I did were unforgivable and removing myself from relationships meant no one else would get hurt. I built walls around myself, this time not to keep out those who have hurt me but instead, to block myself from hurting anyone else. I thought I was a monster and failed to realize sin is the monstrous part of me and it can be cast out through Christ.
I literally barred myself from other people, how masochistic is that? I lost people, people I loved. I don’t mean that they died, I mean that they left or I left them. Point being, we don’t have each other and it made me so sick for so long. Life is too short for strife and family matters, find your tribe and stick with them. I had become a bitter, resentful nomad. I didn’t want to be but I figured nothing could be done. I didn’t actually know the other sides of the stories I was once a part of, I just knew the character I was in each of them and I concluded all hope was lost. Heartbreaking isn’t it? The absence of hope. What about God? What about redemption? I thought there was none to be had. I made God’s mind up for Him. Speaking words of anguish through concrete lips I said things like, “if you can fix it, you should fix it but there isn’t any hope for this. There’s not always hope.” I smacked a big, red ‘irreconcilable’ stamp over my situations while advising others to seek peace in theirs, as if God was too small to fix it all. God is the only one who should say never because when God says never, it it the truth not a matter of opinion or emotion but absolution. When I think, will God ever leave me? Will Jesus ever forget me? He says never, he says it twice. It’s recorded in Hebrews 13:5. That French phrase, the one that means ‘we never know anything completely’ I should’ve paid more attention to it. If I had, I would’ve felt God guiding me back to love. Love is what I had been missing. All this time it was the absence of love, not holding onto agape love was the cause of my breaking heart. Not the people or what happened or even the me I used to be that I missed so desperately. Failing to walk in love was the at the root of the gnarled branches that pushed out of my decaying heart. If I could just get back to love it would all be good again. Be love. All I had to do was be love. No matter what happens or does not happen, my responsibility is to be love. Trust God and be love. That is all we should do. We can never be certain of someone else’s side and every story has at least two. Never say never. On ne sais jamais rien complètement. We never know anything completely. Peace, love, Jesus.