I started writing this blog post in my head a few weeks ago but never got around to actually writing it out.
Then earlier this week I started typing what I wanted to say, but the more I typed the less I felt motivated to write. So I stopped. And now it’s Friday, and here I am again.
You see, the reason why I didn’t want to write this post is because I knew how I needed to end it – nice, eloquent and sweet, like a perfectly crisp bow. I’ll fast forward this for you. I was going to write about being hurt by the people in your life. And by the end of this post I was going to have some compelling lines about forgiveness and moving forward and loving people who have hurt us, because that’s what we’re supposed to do…right?
But honestly, I don’t want to write about that.
Why not? Because I don’t want to write about why we should or have to be the bigger person. I’ve tried living as one my entire life and honestly, I’m just so dang tired of being the bigger person and the nicer person and the person who gets hurt and still takes the high road. No. What I want to do is tell everyone to stop being so selfish, for once in their life, to take off their inconsiderate blinders and be better human beings…to me.
That’s right, you heard me, my home is a dark hole.
I started digging this pit when I was seven years old and the kids at school bullied me into doing some things I didn’t want to do. Then in middle school I was locked in the boys bathroom, which only made me dig deeper. There was a point in my early teenage years that I finally thought I had found my safe, confidant circle of friends, only to discover that I was a mere pawn in a cruel, humiliating Internet joke (June’s blog post). Somewhere after that my pit grew deeper and deeper until one day, I fell in.
Now that wasn’t my intention at all when I started digging this ditch. At first, I had a plan to throw all the haters, enemies and people who had hurt me in there. One day, I’ll show them, I’d promise myself as I shoveled through the tears and hurt. I was fueled by the idea that the lower they got in the hole, the better I would feel as I stared down at them from my high horse of justice.
To be honest, I’ve gotten quite used to this place I call home. Yes, it’s lonely and painful, and while the anger doesn’t ever fully dissolve, at least I know I won’t ever get ambushed. I know what to except and if you can’t love, you can’t hurt.
Most of you don’t know this but 2012 was – in my opinion – the worst year of my life. The year ended more painfully than it began and as the days bled into 2013, the first few months didn’t seem very promising. I must have started getting cabin fever because a few months ago I decided, I had to get out of this pit.
Let me tell you this – getting out of a pit is way more difficult then falling into one. It seemed that the more steps I built, the more walls I climbed, another situation would pop up and pull me back down again. That’s when I came up with the solution. Quit everything.
If my life had been a color-coded organized calendar, it would have been burned into ashes and tossed out into the Atlantic Ocean. I quit extracurricular activities I didn’t want to do. I quit initiating with my friends to see who, if any, would still call me. And quite frankly, I simply quit caring.
And as I proudly dusted myself off for pulling myself out of this hole, what I didn’t realize was that in the process, I had myself a new pit. And the moment I took my first step, I fell right into a new pit.
My favorite television show is How I Met Your Mother. Don’t argue or try to say it’s gone down hill because I won’t listen; the heart wants what it wants. There was an episode this season about what it means to have a ‘pit person’ where the writer’s drew from an analogy from the film Silence of the Lambs. I’m not familiar with scary movies (Casper was scary enough for me, thank you) but from what I gathered in this episode, the person from the movie would throw another person into a deep, dark pit and watch them suffer until they ultimately perished.
Each character on the show had a pit person or a person that wanted to put them in a pit. At a pivotal moment in the How I Met Your Mother episode, Ted (the show’s narrator) said this: “You can spend a lot of time making a pit for someone in your mind, but the only person in the pit is yourself.”
When I watched that part I cried.
Here’s the thing about pits – they aren’t comfortable, it gets awfully lonely in there and the person you end up hurting the most is yourself. It’s like drinking poison and expecting another person to die. And the longer you stay in your pit, the more you become the shell of a person people once liked being around.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We’re not meant to live in pits and we’re definitely not meant to die in them either.
Think about the story of Joseph. His life pretty much started in a pit. And once he got pulled out of the literal pit, he got thrown back into hypothetical pit after pit. But whenever he got in to another pit, he didn’t stay there. When he had the choice to stay in or get out, he got out – every single time. It got me thinking about all the efforts we try to heal our wounds and climb out of pits with little success and how Joseph, in all his seemingly detrimental moments, practiced the best escape route of all. Maybe it can really be this simple:
Don’t soak in life’s hurts (Gen 37:18). Don’t punish your future self for something that happened to you in the past or present (Gen 39:19). Work diligently and humbly (Gen 39:21). Be kind (Gen 40:7). Be generous (Gen. 41:37). Surround yourself with people who will lift you up (Gen. 41:46). Forgive continually (Gen. 45:4).
But none of these happy endings and better days would have been possible for Joseph or remotely possible for us if we aren’t willing to take the first step. And you know what that is, right?
Step One: get out of that pit.
Photo Credit: Mackay Cartoons “Digging a Deeper Hole”