This morning at church they played a commemorative video in honor of 9/11.
Everyone around me was in tears, but I didn’t even feel the slightest tug on my heart strings.
Shameful. I know.
I do remember that day. Unfortunately I was too
young stupid and self-consumed to really understand the gravity of the situation. I was bogged down with the Fall semester of my senior year of college and more relieved that classes had been cancelled than I was worried about the future of my country. Not to mention all of the victims of that tragedy.
I headed out to Greektown for lunch with a friend and remember thinking it was crazy that no one was around. We just talked about stupid nonsense while eating our isle fare.
When I returned to the house I shared with my roommate, I remember seeing her glued to the TV screen.
She was sitting quietly, watching footage of the city, and was appropriately somber. Perhaps it was that she had a few years on me. She certainly was more wise than me and understood the impact of what had taken place which is why she was mourning with the rest of the nation.
I honestly don’t remember feeling much of anything. I didn’t even know what the Twin Towers were. It’s embarrassing really. The insignificant issues in my little college life trumped one of the most significant terrorist attacks the world has seen.
I look back on that girl and feel sorry for her. I guess it’s pretty typical to be so self-centered at that phase in life, but I look back with regret.
Had I known then what I know now, it would have been a very different day for me.
I’ve struggled throughout my life with having a hard heart.
Instead of being tender & inviting or compassionate & caring or sensitive & humble, my heart has often been self-protective and numb.
Because of dysfunctional family dynamics, I decided at an early age not to trust anyone. A lot of factors contributed to that decision and even though I know it wasn’t a healthy choice, somewhere deep in my subconscious, a bargain was struck.
Don’t trust others and you won’t be let down. No one will understand you. Nothing can be counted on except yourself. Be your own confidant. Be your own parent. Be your own best friend.
It’s all on you, girl.
I’ve lived much of my life operating under those conditions. It’s been primarily subconscious, but in the last decade I’ve known about it and still struggled to break out of the pattern.
If there’s anything I can ‘blame’ my hard heart on, it’s that agreement I made all those years ago. It was like turning the key on a gate leading to a lush garden. Once locked, everything starts to dry up. Weeds and vines take hold and what was once cool and soft becomes hardened and rough.
It’s not so easy to hurt something that’s already dead, is it?
Clever tactic perhaps, but ultimately a lack of pain results in a lack of joy. This is what I fight.
Self protection which leads to isolation. Isolation leads to loneliness and the hardening of the heart.
I had about a five year stint where my heart was perpetually hard. Sure, I would routinely cry, but it was like tiny leaks in a giant dam. The real issue was locked behind a concrete wall. The little leaks were just flaws in the system.
I’d attend church services or worship sessions or prayer meetings and not feel a thing. Heck, I’d even ask that people would pray for God to soften my heart. I really wanted it.
About 2 years ago things started to change. God was answering that prayer for me and He began to start changing my heart of stone into a fleshy, beating one again.
It was a welcome change after such a long drought. I relished the feelings of joy, pain, compassion and longing.
I was somewhat scared that things would start moving in reverse and I’d be back to where I was with my stone cold heart, but I kept moving forward.
This morning, sitting in church, watching that video with dry eyes and nary an emotion, it struck me.
I’ve been feeling, or should I say ‘not feeling’ this way for a while. It snuck up on me because I’ve been distracted. A fun summer has had me fooled into thinking my heart has been soft, but I’m not so sure that it has been.
There’s a lot going on in my family right now. Garbage from the past that’s catapulted me right back to where I was when I made that agreement all those years ago.
I’m gonna have to deal with it.
And just thinking about that makes me tired…