And maybe for a time, it works. Fooling others, that is. Or at least fooling ourselves.
However, if I told you to drink poison, would you? No. You would plainly know from the word "poison" that at some point, either immediately or gradually, you should expect a negative reaction, even death.
The problem is, most of us are pretty smart. Relatively speaking, of course. There are those. But I'm not talking about them, I'm talking to me and to you and we are pretty smart.
Except for the fact that we only use, or are able to potentially use, 10% of our brains. Yep. That leaves 90% untapped...and I've done a little math in my lifetime, sooooo....let's see, I guess it's safe to deduce we are smart but we have so much more to learn.
We wouldn't knowingly drink poison if we knew it could hurt us. Then why do we knowingly stuff hurts, scars and secrets? Especially the ones that were toxic to begin with like bitterness, jealousy, unforgiveness...holding onto that kind of stuff, no matter how far down we stuff it, still causes a toxic response, even if ever so slowly...
While my son was sick in the hospital, I had several epiphanies, if you will. One of those being, "There is no such thing as a secret."(NSTAAS) It came to my heart in a moment when my polished church girl, theologically trained faith prayer (PCGTTFP) was not lining up with the real, present time words running through my head and heart or the deep ache way down in my guts.
If you were to witness it, it would be something like this:
- PCGTTFP: "Lord, I know you can move mountains! I trust you with my son's life! I know you can heal him and so I am begging you to please heal my baby!"
- NSTAAS: (In my head/heart/guts) This totally sucks! My kid is dying. No one knows squat. No one can save him. You aren't answering my prayers the way I want You to. I would die for my son. Do You have any idea what it's like to know your son is going to die and you can't do anything about it? I'm so angry with You, God! If I were running the Universe it certainly wouldn't be like this! This fucking sucks! Make it all go away! Fix it!
Every. Single. Thing.
He knew that even though I believed and trusted He could heal my son, at the same time, these thoughts and frustrations were running through my heart. And, it wasn't a secret to Him that I had dropped the "F-bomb" in my head or that I was disenchanted with the fact I couldn't see the Big Picture so none of my reality made sense.
This epiphany was one of the most freeing moments in my walk with God because I knew for the first time "There is no such thing as a secret." God knew my thoughts. He knew that as strong as I was trying to be on the outside wasn't always going to match the reality of my insides. Or vice versa. And since He is big, I knew God could handle this. It really made me love Him all the more.
So fast forward to modern day. Here's a big fat secret I've held onto now for 5 and half years...until last Friday when I finally dealt with it, but not because I planned it that way. Nope, I was fine harboring what had become something quite familiar and comfortable, really. I hadn't thought about it in a while, to be honest. I guess our secrets do that...when we want them hidden they become part of us.
Unless, of course, they are toxic to us and that's when the whole "God loves us" and "He knows what's best for us" and "There's no such thing as a secret" stuff comes in. Because if something dark is holding us back from the very best God has for us, He'll expose it. Oh baby, He'll expose it.
Long story short. For 5.5 yrs I've had bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart toward one of the doctors at my children's clinic. The weekend before Noah was admitted to the hospital we were at our friend's house for a birthday party. Our friend was an ICU nurse. She is smart. She looked at Noah and told me I should call the doctor. I remember thinking, "It's the weekend, I don't want to bother them...they are with their families..." She said, "Ade, he's retracting and is hypotonic. He's sick." She urged me on. I called.
The gist. After the answering service called the doc, she called me. In her tone I heard, "It's the weekend. Is this really so bad that you are calling me on the weekend?" In so many words, she said to watch him and bring him in on Monday when the offices were open.
A few days later we checked our son into the hospital for the rest of his life. From the time that doc called me that sunny Saturday afternoon in July, I vowed she'd never be the caregiver of any of my children...ever. Over my friggin' dead body.
And, over the last 5 1/2 years that's been a pretty easy vow to fulfill. Every time I made appointments for Emily, if that doc was in the office that day, I'd say, "Yep, anybody but so and so..." It worked. No big deal.
Until Friday. Like, Friday of just last week. Yeah. My baby has had a fever off and on and was starting the barky, walrusy cough. I wasn't a fan because I've already taken him to the ER for croup so wasn't wanting to relive great memories. I called ahead and we got there in time for a 4 o'clock sick visit.
I saw the names of the care providers in the office and for the briefest moment thought, "Huh. How random would that be if that's who sees Ryan?" But, it was fleeting and I forgot about it.
No temp. Bark, bark. Good weight. Cough, cough. "Anything else before I send the doctor in?"
Knock, knock with a simultaneous open door...
And there she was.
And my heart was okay.
As I listened to her get down to business, check out my sweet little lover, and give us a plan for the weekend (ironic) my heart began to quicken, ever so slightly.
Let's just say God and I have been down the whole heart beating to get my attention road before. It doesn't take as much these days. I get it God, You want me to obey...yeah, yeah.
When she was finished with business and about to hop to her feet and head out...
Me: May I say something?
Me: I want to apologize to you.
Me: For five and a half years now I have had bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart towards you.
Doc: Oh? Okay.
Me: And, of course you had no idea. You see, we had a son who died 5 years ago and before he went to the hospital, I called on the weekend and you were the provider. Whether you did this or not, I don't know, but the conversation came across that you were put off by getting a call on the weekend. I was trying not to call but my friend encouraged me. A few days later we took him to the hospital for the rest of his life.
Doc: I am so sorry.
Me: I am so sorry. I'm sorry I held this unforgiveness for so long. Will you forgive me?
Doc: Of course. Will you forgive me?
Me: Of course.
Doc: What all happened with your son? I hope that we were supportive of you guys.
Me: It's a long story, but yes, the practice was very supportive.
Doc: I'm really glad you told me this. Even if it's the 40th call on a weekend, it's important and you bringing it to my attention helps me to stop and get perspective that when I'm talking to that particular parent, that kid is the most important person at that moment.
Me: Thank you for saying that. It means a lot.
Doc: I am so sorry. Thank you for forgiving me. My pastor just spoke on forgiveness last Sunday. I really appreciate you saying this to me, even after all these years.
Me: I'm sorry it's taken so long. I don't want to carry around this toxicity, so forgiving you gives me freedom, too. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
Doc: I'd love to be part of your family's journey if you ever want to make an appointment with me.
I'm an apologizing and forgiving machine right now :) Just kidding. Don't push it.
But exposing my dark places to God's light is bringing me more and more freedom to finally be who God designed me to be.