Monday, January 28, 2008

The Act of Redemption...
Being Saved, Delivered, Redeemed from evil, wrong doing, abuse & pain.
I believe in Redemption.
I need to.
Redemption was the nourishment my soul craved over the years when faced with torture, suffering, anguish, extreme loss...all of the hardship that we face in this life. The only thing I could grasp onto in certain moments of despair & sadness was that I would eventually be "delivered" from the pain. I would eventually be redeemed from the evil that was done against me. I had a core belief that knew I would eventually come through it all.
There are those cliche' sayings, you know the ones...we have all heard our mothers or friends or teachers say them: "There is a light at the end of the tunnel" "This too shall pass" "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger"
As true as those sayings doesn't change the right now, right here, moment of pain and heartache. It only speaks of a time where it won't hurt as much. It does give us hope and perspective, if we allow it to. We can hold onto the knowing that one day our hearts will beat steadily again and not groan in agony over the wrong doing in this life. But in order to do that, we must believe. We must believe that is actually true...we WILL make it through and we WILL be OK.
We must have faith in our ability to heal.
The challenge is that a lot of us don't allow ourselves to truly heal. We don't want to go "through" the journey of pain and come out on the other side. We don't want to feel that discomfort, sadness, loss, anger,'s too much to bear and we don't believe it's worth it. So we escape and deflect, we sit in denial or we wear masks to hide and keep those parts of us safe in hopes that we won't be hurt too deeply. Now I am not suggesting that we wallow and make our final home in the darkness that can consume us. That's not healthy. I don't think you MUST go through pain in order to receive extreme healing...redemption. However, why can some of us go through extreme pain and come out refined and strong and others of us too broken to go on? Why do some give up their faith and belief in redemption along the way? Why do some put up walls and guard themselves from ever feeling, in fear of being in that kind of pain?
This past weekend I saw the color purple (on stage) with a friend. The main character goes through extreme abuse, pain, torture, adversity, loss, etc...and yet she holds on and presses through and cries out and challenges herself to continue believing. In the end, there is great redemption. Those that abused her see the error of their ways. Those she lost are restored to her. Those she loved most, return to her. She is delivered from the pain and sorrow that once saturated her heart.
And there is much rejoicing at the end for she came out of her life's journey stronger, wiser, prouder, bolder, and truly confident in herself...her ability to live, love, give and heal.
Yesterday, when I shared with someone that I saw this play they responded "Oh, gee, that's too heavy, isn't it...the story, too heavy...too heavy, how could that be enjoyable?"
I responded.."Oh, but there is redemption at the end."
That didn't change their view of it being too heavy and not enjoyable.
For me, I thought...I can view, witness, experience any hard and heavy pain as long as I KNOW there is redemption. It must be redeeming at the end. I don't want to stay in the pain and have the story end...I want to see redemption.
This person is close to me and I know that they have never dealt with some of the pain that has been present in their life. They avoid it, deny it, escape it, and don't feel it's worth it. I am very sad for him, as he cannot truly experience the joy and life that you can only experience when you have come through the hardships, faced them, survived them, and grown stronger because of them.
In The Color Purple, Celie (the main character) arrived at a place in her life where she knew herself. She knew her worth. She knew what she was "made of."
How do we really know what we are "made of" if we don't allow life to sharpen us, refine us, strip us and re-build us?
Why do some of us say yes to this journey, and others of us say no?

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