Yesterday I learned something about myself. I suppose that life has a way of teaching you things, or allowing you to rediscover what you may’ve already known, especially if you are patient enough to sit back and reflect on life. I learned that my strength doesn’t lie in my ability to lift 100 lbs dumbbells, or in my intellectual ability to always know the right things to say or do. I believe one of my best strengths is to take pain and negativity, and recycle it.
What do I mean by “recycle” pain and negativity? There are some people in this world who have decided to be fountains of death. They have chosen to speak out insults, belittle others, curse, mock, glorify themselves, and also slander other people with their words. They choose not to uplift, encourage, compliment, or speak positivity into the lives of others. Proverbs 18:21 AMP – 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
My father is one of those people who constantly has spoken death into my life. He constantly belittles my achievements and I honestly think it makes him feel good to disacknowledge everything I have done for him, so to let me know that in his eyes I am worthless. As I think back… some of the only times I remember my father complimenting me was when my brother and I used to work with him on my father’s farm as kids. My father used to compliment me for being more athletic than my brother. However, I feel he was doing so to make my brother feel bad. So to play favorites and attempt to plant seeds of strife between my brother and I, as we long for his approval. But, what my father failed to recognize was that the bond between my brother and I is stronger than a three-stranded cord. Ecclesiastes 4:12 AMP – 12 And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Over the years, I have learned to take those words of death, and lock them up in a safe somewhere around my heart. I choose not to hurt others just because I’m hurting emotionally. Though it is true that “hurt people… hurt people“… I believe that everyone makes a conscious decision to hurt someone, and even if I grew up around verbally abusive people, I still have to be accountable for my actions.
Though I may appear to have everything together. As I walk around, wearing nice clothes, smiling… I hope you don’t think my life is perfect, or that I’m always happy. I may look nice on the outside, but on the inside my heart has been calloused, my ankles are sprained, my face beaten, my body bruised, and my confidence broken. Life is my healing process. And, I know God has given me the grace to overcome all of the pain, the verbal abuse, and all that life has thrown at me. And, I’ve learned how to recycle it, and turn it into love.
I didn’t write this blog to vent out hatred or to condemn my father. I recognize that he has supported me financially when I needed it. And, I believe he loves me in his own way. I also know I’m not the perfect son. I am just another product of a broken home. I am just another African-American male who has to deal with having a father who is verbally abusive.
I’ve learned that there are no perfect people. Everyone has problems. No one can choose their parents, and you can’t make someone love you. But, I can choose how I react or respond to pain… and, I choose to love.
Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just… Smile