Monday, October 1, 2012

You Are My Neighbor

Raccoon State Park, PA (October 2010)
This week, at the behest of a friend, I read a book called “I’m Proud of You – My Friendship with Fred Rogers” by Tim Madigan. I found it a good read – a book that I believe everyone can identify with at least to some degree. While the book talks about the author’s friendship with “the” Mr. Rogers, its underlying message is that of the human condition and great healing. Tim is very open about his own pain and insecurity, his feelings of being unaccepted and how God, through Mr. Rogers, loved him whole.

The more I understand about myself and my own pain and healing, the more I am convinced that every human being is plagued by insecurity and feelings of being unaccepted in some way or another. This manifests itself in many ways – some people try harder to prove their worth to themselves and others, some give up altogether, some implode becoming depressed and living in perpetual suffering, and others explode launching their anger out onto the world around them.

Raccoon State Park, PA (October 2010)
Just today, one of my Facebook friends posted on her status –“It’s hard to explain to someone who has no clue. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside.” For some reason, we try to hide this insecurity, this internal battle of worth and value, as if we are the only one in the world who feels this way, believing that if others knew, they would laugh at us or worse, confirm our perceived worthlessness. We go to work, or church, and even at home with those we love and trust the most, and we pretend that everything is okay when inside we’re broken and longing to have someone love us, not for what we do, but for who we are – warts and all. We hide who we are because we are convinced that if they knew the truth of us, they would abandon us and in our pain, we wouldn’t blame them for it.

Raccoon State Park, PA (October 2010)
What I’ve found in God’s healing is that he is the one I was crying out for when all I wanted was one person to love for who I was, imperfect, wounded, and limping through life. I needed someone to accept me wholly, not for what I could do, or for the potential I had, but for the person I was right then, the messy, confused, insecure woman I was. Sometimes I laugh at myself now when I think about me crying out for “this unknown person” and I picture God desperately pleading with me to know him as the One who fulfills all my needs. In the beginning, I understood this in my mind. But it took years of God proving his love for me to me for my heart to wrap itself around the understanding of his complete and unending love and acceptance of me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t, from time to time, experience insecurity and feelings of being unacceptable. The enemy is good at what he does. He knows that the slightest doubt can throw all that knowing into chaos and I sometimes fall for his deceptions. But even as I struggle with doubt, there God is – loving me wholly, as always, just as I am, in that moment.

Raccoon State Park, PA (October 2010)
What I want to take away from the book and put to work in my life is how Mr. Rogers was to the author that physical communication of God’s immeasurable love and whole-hearted acceptance. I want to be that person – the person who sees the pain in others and reaches out with both hands to embrace them in their messy, insecure brokenness. I want them to know that God loves them without reservation and accepts them just as they are with a grace and love that no sin or insufficiency can overpower. Because that knowledge has brought such joy and peace into my own life, I just have to share it with the whole world. So if I look deep to see through the facade you put on or break through the walls you’ve built up, it’s not to harm you, to call you out on your less-than-perfect attributes, but to embrace you with the love and grace of the One who loves you without limit or pretense. You are not alone and you are so very much loved.


Common Household Mom said...

These are good words. Thank you for writing them.

Perhaps part of why we cover up our insecurities is just so we can make it through the day. I mean, deciding what to make for dinner is hard enough, without also seriously pondering our own worth!

I'm struggling big-time with big doubt, in the face of seeing my loved ones suffer, knowing full well that their suffering doesn't even begin to reach the depths of some other people's suffering. What enables me to make it through the day is words like yours here, and how you truly are able to embrace people with love and grace. And how people all around me (of many different faiths!) are being Jesus for me. And having something concrete to think about, like what to make for dinner (tonight, chicken). All that forces me to be thankful.

Maureen Profeta said...

Dear CHM:

I am sorry to hear of your struggles. I understand trying to make it through the day and I hope that God makes the days more of an adventure and less of a chore for you very soon.

One thing I have learned in all of my soul searching and healing is never to compare one person's suffering with another's - - - in this fallen world, there will always be someone who is suffering more. But that doesn't make the "lesser" suffering any less real, painful, or valid for the person who must endure it.

Audrey said...

Thank you so much for writing your blog Maureen. I always look forward to reading it on Monday. In fact, sometimes I think that you have invaded both my head and my heart.
As someone who worked in Early Childhood for a long time, I began to realize that so much of what Mr Rogers wrote for "his" children is exactly what God would write for "His" children! This is one of my favorite quotes from him regarding love. "Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now." I believe that this is the way God loves us...and for that we are blessed indeed!