making pearls

Here is a hard thing that needs to be said. 

Even those who love you may not understand everything you do. And that’s ok. 

Oh, it’s hard. It can feel like a sucker punch the first time somebody who’s always been supportive, no-questions-asked, always got your back suddenly looks at you funny and says Why? or even I wouldn’t do that. It can feel like the rug’s been pulled right out from under you. This was the person you’ve always agreed with. They’ve always supported and agreed with you. They’ve always been the cheerleader. And then in the one second when they don’t, you wonder suddenly if you’re crazy, if you’re the one off-base, if you’re running wildly in the wrong direction. 

It might be a little thing. You choose to nurse your baby to sleep when they’re teething or you let them crawl into bed with you once. You didn’t potty train by a certain age or you let your two kids sleep in the same bedroom. It seems to be the littlest things that wiggle into close relationships like sand in the heel of your shoe. 

I have experienced this. It starts with a single comment between friends and then suddenly you go to bed wondering and wake up insecure and a little niggling distance grows while you stare existentially into your morning coffee (and then also your afternoon coffee and your evening wine. It escalates quickly.) 

Anyway. I don’t have grand solutions for you. This is a hard situation. But I just want you to know you’re not the only one who’s accidentally let an off-hand comment or difference in parenting methods or exercise habits or even the way you grill your chicken work like sharp grit into a relationship that used to be smooth sailing. It happens to everybody. It usually happens pretty often. But it doesn’t have to escalate. You can let the sand work into your heel and give you a blister, or you can make like an oyster and cover it in softness until it becomes a pearl. I’m not just being poetic: this is a choice we get to make. You let blisters rise on your soul or you let God-in-you grow small sharp things into large beautiful things. Pearls are magnified sand, you know. Pain coated and coated until it becomes a round globe of beauty. That is what redemption does. 

It will sting at first. I know that much. I wouldn’t be saying all this if it didn’t: it stings and it’s ok to feel the sting. The sting points to something important. Hard words hurt more when they come from somebody we care about. But after you brood over your morning coffee, pray over your breakfast. Ponder over your lunch. Pray some more through your afternoon coffee. Forgive over your dinner and if you can’t quite get that far, then at least exhale all that anger out before you go to bed, and remind yourself that when you pour the next morning’s cuppa you’ll be praying out the angst again. Step by step, baby. Don’t worry about how long it takes. We’re in this life and this becoming-like-God stuff for the long haul. Don’t give up when it takes a lot of morning coffee before something that used to be sharp doesn’t hurt anymore. It will come. Just don’t let the sharpness breed a callus. Take your sand and make a pearl one prayer, one sip, one ounce of forgiveness at a time.

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