Monday, March 11, 2013

Written in Stone

Some would say that I am a product of God, created in His image, borne as His own. Some see me as a prime example of teen pregnancy gone okay. To others, I am nothing more than a metaphysical soul in a physical body, here to learn lessons that move me along my path toward enlightenment. The truth is, I am all of these. I am all of these, yes, but I am so much more. I am the product of your chisel to my stone, your brush to my canvas, your pen to my page. I am every word you have ever spoken to me, every deed you have ever done.

I received three notes this week, each of them building me up, each of them strengthening me, each of them contributing beautiful marks to the canvas of my soul.

First, a card. A simple card that read, “To the most beautiful woman I know. You are truly amazing.” This was validation and praise in a way that I could never hope to receive. And then another, “God truly showed up when he created you. Thank you for being the person you are.” I am allowed. I am allowed to be who I am. I am appreciated for doing exactly what I do and being exactly who I am. Then, I received a personal message within a formal reply, “Thank you very much for choosing this profession. Thank you for loving what you do. The world needs more people like you.” Thank you for doing my job? Thank you for showing up? Thank you for doing the thing I can’t help but do? These words each watered my soul. They fed my heart. They moved me beyond words and beyond tears. I made the mistake of reading one of these messages in public. I had to excuse myself. I had to blot my eyes, dry my tears, gather my composure. I had to pretend for a second that I didn’t feel as deeply as I felt. I failed. I failed at that. I failed miserably. I cried. In front of others.

Then, there are the marks that no words can fix, that no pen can erase. Still, one of you tried. You used your words to paint around what was ugly and dark, to place color where there was none, to create beauty where beauty was not. The canvas was marred, compromised in a way that could not be repaired. You took your brush and splashed color with your words, covering the wretched, hiding the vile. The dark remains, the canvas permanently scarred, but it is brightened by the flowers you so beautifully placed atop its mark.

One of you tried your best to create new marks of darkness. You flung words of torment, ridicule, disdain, and contempt. Your tone was harsh and more than a little disturbing. You took your verbal knife and pierced my soul clear through to its very center. You etched your own grotesque formation into my stone until I felt repugnant, revolting. I questioned my beauty, my worth. But soon your words made me think of my own that I had imparted to others. Your words became a beauty in their own right in that they opened my eyes to the verbiage I was flinging at those whose lives I have touched.

What had I contributed to YOUR masterpiece?

I had splashed huge strokes of yellows and oranges and pinks and blues. I had thrown on “You are beautiful,” “You are worthy,” “You are special just because you are you.” But I had also hurled words of hatred, words of harm, words of hurt and insensitivity. I had hurled words meant to diminish, to destroy, vile words of anger and contempt. I had contributed splendor, yes, but I had also darkened a canvas or two.

Lord, help me for I have sinned. I have torn down that which you have created. I have sought to belittle that which is you in another form. I have taken big fat black crayon to your Mona Lisa. Please help me to love, to build up, to encourage. Please help me to fling colors so bold and brilliant and brave that they cannot help but lift, motivate, inspire. Please help me to cover the dark parts of the souls of those whom I meet. Please help me to be the Michelangelo you so need me to be.

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