May. 5, 2017

I'll Fly Away

 

Something that surprises most people about me is that when I am backed up against a wall, I look for an escape. The human psyche has two tendencies under duress: Fight or Flight.

I am assertive, but I pray that I am not aggressive. I am a wordsmith but also know I need to learn to choose my words more wisely. I am a teacher by nature and give others the freedom to disagree, but when I feel squelched, I leave. I see my tendency to “get away” in most of my relationships; other than my family. I see my “flight” pattern on Facebook and in life. I’ve probably unfriended and re-friended more people than Mark Zuckerberg himself.

Recently, I found myself in a situation where I felt emotionally compressed. No, that isn’t a typo. I didn’t intend to type “oppressed.” Oppressed is defined as, “subject to harsh and authoritarian treatment.” I wasn’t being oppressed. I was literally being compressed – squeezed. Compression doesn’t typically apply to emotions, but it fits perfectly in this particular experience. My only way out, I thought, was to leave.

And, leave I did.

During the same time period, I began remembering a very horrible occurrence in my childhood. My female cousin and I were playing together. We were having a grand ol’ time. A very mean boy began to taunt us. I believe I was between 4-5 years old. The boy continued to tease, yell, and push us. This irritation went on for what felt like forever with him refusing to leave us alone. I reached a point I had enough, my cousin was crying, and I picked up a nearby shovel and hit the boy. On the head. I’m embarrassed to tell you that because it is awful!

I’ve felt tormented by this memory all week. I knew I was forgiven. I knew I was only a child. I knew I wasn’t mature enough to connect the dots between cause and effect. Let’s be honest, we were taught Wile E. Coyote could have a boulder dropped on him and come out unscathed. My little girl brain didn’t comprehend that a shovel was a dangerous weapon and hitting this other child on the head could have resulted in a disaster beyond a cut. It’s horrible to even think and type about it.

I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed over my continual persecution regarding the event that happened many, many, many years ago.  Did I say, “Many?” Let’s try 54 years. You’d think it was time to let it go, right?

Wrong. God had something to teach me about my character that began with that really little girl feeling mistreated and trapped. That little girl wanted to do whatever it took to make the pain go away; not just for myself, but for my favorite cousin. After listening to KSBJ this morning and their discussion on why God allows painful memories to resurface, I began to realize that God had something to teach me about myself.

I choose “flight” in fear of what comes next. It isn’t that I cannot stand my own ground. I simply am afraid of what form and shape my stand will take. My words cut deeper than the shovel did on that poor, little, irritating, mean, taunting boy’s head.

Many times I choose to disconnect and disengage in order to protect the other person.  I know my words can be cutting and cruel. I know I am not perfect and will never be perfect. I need to learn self-containment. Being compressed is scary. Being self-contained is healthy when it comes to anger. Being God-ordained makes us watch our step even more carefully. Well, at least until one feels more in control of her emotions and can have productive conversations.

So, if you see me unfriend you, withdraw from you, or simply walk out on our friendship, it’s about me. Not you. When the going gets tough, I’ll fly away. I typically return. Is that good news or bad news? <smile>