“Take this overcoat of shame, it never did belong to me.” Annie Lenox
The lightening struck, my eyes were closed yet pierced by a bold, electrifying light. I felt the residue of color, if that’s possible, on the center of my forehead. It’s almost as if the color, a bluish ice, permeated my entire being. I sat straight up frightened, and stumbled out of bed. My bed, (a luscious foam delight) is situated in front of two oversized windows. As I awoke, I thought about warnings I heard, “Stay away from windows” during lightening storms.
My kids were at their dad’s house, so I wasn’t as concerned as I usually am that a tree was going to fall on the house. I grabbed my alarm clock-my phone-and headed to the empty bed in my daughter’s room. Her bed is on the other side of the room from the windows, and my safe haven during a storm.
Before going back to sleep, I checked my alarm just to make sure it was still set. (I’m the worrisome type if you haven’t noticed.) As I illuminated the back drop of my phone, a friend request from FaceBook popped up. I saw the name, and recognized it as someone significant to someone else from my past. I found it interesting, but not as much as my rest. I didn’t investigate any further, and went back to sleep.
The next morning I brewed my coffee and turned on my computer. There was a message from the known- stranger in my FaceBook inbox.
Her message was gift, an absolute gift of freedom.
She started the message by introducing herself and then apologizing for something I didn’t know required an apology. Those sentiments alone were enough to restore a certain side of me that I thought was ugly, a side of me that felt I wasn’t enough. She also told me very truthful, and poignant things about our mutual connection that lifted the blanket of shame from me surrounding me and this person.
I felt I’d wronged this person, and that I had been an immoral, bad-girl. I felt guilt, shame, and disgust with myself over what I thought I’d done to this person. I’d put this person on a throne high above me, when really they’re nothing more than a flawed human, perfectly human just like me.
Her point of reference gave me the freedom to let go of something that wasn’t mine to begin with. It gave me permission to cut a thread from my shroud of heaviness.
Seeing another side of the story provided some insight for me about how things aren’t always as they seem. It was a good reminder for me to not always assume the worst about myself. Conversely, it’s also an example of how there are two, and three sides to every story. I still played my part, however, the reality of my role versus the character I thought I represented were a lot different. I wasn’t the villain after all.
I have to take responsibility for what’s mine, but I have to also be willing to undress that which doesn’t fit. Not surprisingly, this brings me back to the common theme I struggle with in life, balance.
(I know I was a little vague here, but I’m did so to protect trust. I was given back a piece of my grace, and integrity that I thought was lost. It is my duty here to respect all privacy.) You know who you are, and I thank you.