To feel or not to feel…
My stepfather only hit me the one time. I truly believe it scared him more than it did me. Not sure why, but there was a look on his face… I knew he had scared himself by his actions. I think that scared me more than the fact that he had hit me. He had already assured me he had no intention of going back to jail for me, so what would he do next??
After the black eye. My stepfather found more… creative ways to hurt me. He would keep mental stock of what was important to me and "hurt" or destroy those things. I didn't have much in the way of nice things. I had an antique porcelain piggy bank, given to me by a lady in our church (DL, I think @ TCC), a Pegasus lamp, given to me by my grandmother and a few dolls, given to me by my mother's co-worker (I was told they "were not the kind you play with"), that I had displayed on a high shelf in my room. Somehow those dolls, though out of reach for anyone, but an adult on a stool, managed to be chewed to bits by our dog… the lamp and the piggy bank met similar fates because I have never had a decent memory. When he moved in with us I got a TV and a VCR in my room (later I found out that was in trade for my entire savings account…). With that came the responsibility of recording sports for him. I had to program the VCR and remember to be sure the TV was on the right channel. Well, I am sure part of the problem was I couldn't care less about his sports, and so I didn't bother to remember or double check the channel and times. Well if it didn't record the right thing he got more than a little miffed. So to get back at me for missing a game he'd break something. The first was the lamp. I was heartbroken. And he later apologized. The second was the bank… when he picked it up, I remember yelling "NOOooo", like I never have ever before or since. He said something like "this means something to you?" and it went sailing across the room and my heart shattered with it. It was my most prized possession, I'd had it for as long as I could remember, and it was the nicest thing I owned, I remember thinking it was beautiful. He destroyed it. When he tried to apologize for that one, I couldn't quite believe that he was really sorry.
But. When he shattered my bank, I remember locking myself in the bathroom watching myself cry, trying to stop the tears, and promising myself "He will not ever make me cry again!". He did, of course, but every time was less and within a few years only physical pain could bring a tear to my eyes.
I still have a hard time feeling. Part of me wants to. It would make relationships better, give me better ability to minister to hurting hearts, but a part of me finds security in the lack of emotion. If I don't invest my emotions, then I don't have as great a risk of being hurt or used. Protection.
But when I really care, I don't know how to show it, I don't feel (much) sorrow or loss, and to say I do feels like a lie.
I don't cry at weddings or funerals or at the birth of a baby… no tears of joy or loss… I am the last one you'll ever catch crying when watching a movie.
I have noticed over the years I have gotten a little "softer", but when I notice it it scares me.
It's fine with me (most of the time) that death doesn't make me cry. I try to make sure people know I appreciate them, so I don't have any regret when they are gone. And I believe God won't remove a person from my life (by moving away or death or simply growing apart) until their job is done. Sometimes I don't like His timing, but His ways are nor my ways…
But sometimes I wonder what positives I am missing. Perhaps what are my kids missing? Are they going to be matter of fact and tend toward apathetic because of me? I want better than that for them! But I don't know how, and it is scary to think of being so vulnerable…
God is good, I know I can love, trust, believe, depend, rely… have faith in Him. He wants what is best for my good AND His glory. But people… people are different. They hurt each other, they break promises, and lie and deceive. A friend can become a foe in a heartbeat.
And then there's the vulnerability, the showing of your tender spots, that comes with emotion. If someone knows how much you care, they know how much they can hurt you…
Obviously, I need some prayer for grace here :). I have walls of protection around my heart. Very few have made it through the barriers, most who are "in" were there before the walls went up… I know they need to come down, but the Lord must do it because I am too afraid to…