It’s been a while.
Despite the distracted nature of things at the surface of late, deep down in my depths I have been engaged in the ongoing discipline of discernment. About a great many things. Things that have been long evident on the edges of my universe. Things that took up residence there because I had no real understanding of their central role in shaping me.
That is finally beginning to change.
Now perhaps it is the consequence of our secular world, but an epiphany is most commonly regarded as a “moment of sudden revelation” or “an illuminating discovery, realization or disclosure.” It has also been termed an “intuitive grasp of reality through something simple and striking”. Those adventurous sorts may deem it as a “manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.”
I prefer this: “the realization of the essential nature of things.” Simple. Cuts to the chase. And being a child of God, like all of you, the essence of things cannot be anything other than divine. Right? But I digress.
So one morning, the words “giver” and “taker” somehow found their way into my consciousness. Not so much – me thinks – from the yule tide scheme of things. Or anything pertaining to common “labeling” usage. For some reason, it brought along with it some company. A term that tends to get thrown about a lot these days.
I have to admit, that word found its way into my vocabulary many times of late. Usually, it was employed to define certain individuals and aspects of my life in both a personal and professional context. A self-defense technique learned from the herd. A conventionally approved way to assert one’s personal value and reinforce position and repair ego.
When “toxic” first rolls off your lips, it do leave one with a sense of confidence, empowerment and independence. But that revelation is short lived. Creating for one a false sense of reality that cannot be farther from the truth.
It is word born of hurt, but rooted entirely in anger. Meant only to feed the ego. Erect walls, draw all sorts of red lines and create distance. While it may come off as a proclamation, its only true virtue is to do harm. Essentially disparaging the value of another. Damaging all parties. Discarding another child of God.
There is absolutely nothing toxic about our fellow siblings. They are just broken. Our common, family trait.
Aside from this epiphany, what I have re-discovered, is something I have known for a long time. Something I tend to run from when I choose to make things tougher for myself.
I live to:
I was basically built for others. Some of those closest to me say to my detriment. And though my construction tests me a great deal, I do have to be honest: even when things seem their worst, I find great joy in this; His design for me. Though I am still learning to accept this level of grace, I am finding peace resting in Him.
It is only when I start to veer off His path – one made just for me – that the feces peppers the proverbial fan. It begins when I second guess. Feel sorry for myself. Succumb to a baser nature. Seek to nurture the ego.
That is when I lose sight of the essential nature of things.
Despite the toxicity I have chosen to inject into my being, I am suddenly aware it is a genuinely a blessing to be made this way. To give. For one thing is certain; He errs not.
So I got to thinking.
Maybe all that really separates us from one another is where we happen to be on this journey. Perhaps those we initially deem as a “taker” actually start out as givers. Maybe they find giving way too tenuous and dependent for their liking. It could be that they venture as far as they think they can then change course. Uncertainty turning them to the right or left. Or worse yet – back. Towards something far away from the essential nature of things.
Along the way, they may have found themselves engaged in endeavors that at best might bring with them a tentative sense of confidence, the false hope of empowerment and pseudo independence. A life marked by fleeting circumstance and dotted with nothing approaching the joy, appreciation of grace or peace that can only be found when you give.
I know what that is like. In some my weakest moments, I took the next off ramp. Seemed scenic at first. But in time, it was not where I needed to be. And it was definitely not where I was intended to be. It ain’t no fun to be lost like that. It took me for a loop.
My hope is that all those detours I have taken throughout my life, have not stained me so that I am now viewed by others as “toxic.” I meant no harm. I was hurt. Scared. Discouraged. Tired. Angry. Attributes found in any lost child. Even one aged 59.
We are all part of a grand design.
Broken participants all. Each part of a mission meant to share all manner of manifestation of the divine. If we can intuitively grasp this as reality, then we can recognize the essential nature of things.
Another epiphany of sorts.
We are children of God. We are part of a large extended family, generations in the making. We are each called to give. And take care of our siblings.
Nothing about that is toxic.