“And He called the people to Him again and said to them ,”Hear me, all of you and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into Him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him… For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.” Mark 4:14-15, 21-23
there was this one gathering that we were invited to. the notice was kind of impromptu so to speak. it was already past my bedtime, but still we have to go, if only because we have to drop our son off so he could spend time with his friends. despite the other parents’ persistence over my mobile phone and bhoy’s subtle hints for me to get down from the car for a moment and say hi at least, i declined because i felt sick. though as i look back, i am not sure now if it was for real or just imagined. that was not the first time. i have already excused myself on similar occasions many times before. though at first, i thought i was able to get away with it. but as i start to run out of excuses, i also began to question my motives. maybe i’ve already pushed myself way deep into the abyss of extreme fear. but what am i really scared of?
there were chapters in my life when interactions with other people caused me so much pain. intimate or otherwise, intentional or not, the memory would come and go, and would still hurt me as much. subconsciously, as an instinct to defend myself from the probability of its recurrence, i built an invisible wall around me. this wall provides a sense of security to know that nobody can no longer come in and hurt me again, unless i allow it. so that if it happens again, it will be my entire fault because I let my guard down and let them sneak into my protected sanctuary and inflict pain on me… again. OUCH!
sometimes it feels unfair to decline any invitation of friendship from new acquaintances, because that was when the hurting usually starts. it is like cancer that slowly and silently ravages one single organ, and if it is no longer satisfied, moves to another, then another, until it spreads out to the whole system. at that stage, no medications are effective enough to cure it. and sadly, painkillers are just a moment’s comfort because they can no longer stop the pain entirely. and that is worse than the disease itself.
the wall that I built around me is selective. my naive and vulnerable nature turns it into a sponge that absorbs any display of kindness and gentleness. and in an instant, it can turn into a “makahiya” which folds inward when touched or shaken. it is an acquired instinct to over-protect myself now. not only from predators lurking in the darker avenues, but warily from unfamiliar creatures which disguise otherwise.
call it instinct. but sometimes it already seems like i’m just being paranoid. and i really feel guilty after those excuses, because i know deep inside it is not fair. especially to all who genuinely cares about me. therefore i commit a grave injustice far greater than those who have hurt me. not only am i depriving myself the warmth of human bonding, i also prevent others to get to know and understand me better. instead, like a turtle who hides its head in its shell, i retreat into the innermost recesses of my solitude, because it is there that i feel safest. or so i thought.
but truly, only God breaks down walls and opens new doors for natural order of things to find its course. praise God for the power of His word. for by His grace He made me realize that the madness that comes from without can do me no worse, than what i can do to myself. and since i have no control of what’s to come, i’ll be forever comforted by the reality that He will always protect me.
harsh realities of life. even our Lord Jesus Christ, in all His power and glory, was not spared because He loves us so much. pain and suffering are part of what makes us better persons. and they don’t even come close to what our Lord was made to endure. He offered his life totally and unconditionally, and we partake in His suffering by enduring our own. and maybe too, if i offered my own, by sharing my self to others regardless of any suffering that it might bring, His suffering would not have been in vain.
i just pray that one day soon, in the name of Christ Jesus, i would be able to put into action what the Lord had just made me realize. and my invisible wall would finally disappear, together with the foundation of pain from which it was built upon.