Supportive through the Gray

I like to think of myself as a very supportive person. I’m a hype-man with my friends –  cheering them on and supporting them – and I’m a cushion for my family – someone they can fall back on if they ever lose their balance or stumble. But one of the things I have a hard time doing is being supportive when I don’t want to be. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to encourage the people I love just because I don’t feel like it (although encouragement can be hard when you don’t always feel it yourself), but rather, supporting people through decisions I don’t necessarily approve of or agree with can be challenging.

Every day I’m forced to remind myself that people don’t think the way I do. Not everyone has the same dreams. Not everyone has the same plans. Not everyone has the same tolerance or the same mindset. You would think this is common sense, and it kind of is, but that doesn’t mean it’s something I always remember. I could be in a conversation or an argument and it won’t even occur to me that this person is different – it’s not until I actively remind myself that they are not the same that I’ll then try to change my perspective to one that matches theirs in order to understand. But sometimes I reallyyy don’t want to. I just want them to think like me. I just want them to see why what they’re doing/saying is ridiculous. (I can practically hear the gasps and whispers about how I’m being selfish.) But this is something everyone thinks, just not everyone admits to thinking it.

Lately I’ve been watching as someone I love hasn’t been supported in the way he needs because people (myself included) don’t agree with his ways. But what I’ve realized is that this lack of support isn’t pushing him to do the right thing, instead, it’s just pushing him away. Right and wrong aren’t concepts that are set in stone. There are clearly things that should be right to everyone and there are things that should be wrong to everyone, but there is also a very large gray area that nobody can agree on. Maybe it’s not our place to tell someone what shade of gray they’re standing on – whether it’s right or wrong. I think the better option would be to step back and tell the person that if they succeed, you’ll be proud, and if they fall, you’ll catch them.

The reason supporting people through decisions you don’t deem “right” is difficult is because you see failure on the other end. But if we could acknowledge that we see failure, while trying to understand how the other person sees success, well, maybe that’s what true support is.

How’s your heart?

A few years ago I made the decision to go back to church and find who I am with Christ. There are reasons why I did this, but they’re not important at the moment. What is important is one of the life changing things that I had learned. I remember going to a women’s conference about a year after, featuring Christa Black Gifford as the speaker. I learned so much at this conference and I grew personally and spiritually in so many ways, but one thing I will never forget is what I learned about the heart.

Christa had talked about having a broken heart – things in her life had caused wear and tear and left her heart weak. As she talked about this, I found tears filling my eyes. I realized that I had similar feelings. I’ll be the first to admit I have issues and I’ve been left with scars on my heart from things that have happened in my past. People have done me wrong and I’ve been left to fend for myself by building walls and pushing people away as soon as they get close. But the more I began to identify what was wrong and where the hurt came from, the more I was able to fix it. So when I ask people how their heart is, I don’t do so in hopes of making them sad, I do it because I’m genuinely curious and I don’t believe people think about their heart nearly as often as they should.

There is a form of art in the Chinese culture where pottery is broken and glued back together with a gold-glue mixture. What ends up being created is beautiful pottery with gold lines painted across it in place of the cracks. This art-form is known as “Kintsugi.” I wish we could take our broken hearts and fill them with gold. Rather than looking at what’s broken as something that’s ugly and irreparable, we can find a way to make it beautiful. We can take the cracks that leave us angry, and fill them with kindness; the cracks that make us cry, and fill them with love; the cracks that make us judgmental, and fill them with acceptance. Change is hard, especially when it stems from a place of such deep emotion. Changing your heart is like resetting a bone – it may hurt like hell, but in the end, it will allow the heart to heal back stronger than it was before.

Our hearts need to be reset and made strong.

Our hearts need to be filled with gold and made beautiful.

How’s your heart?

Let go

Over these past few days, the topic of forgiveness has been strangely present in my life. Whether it’s a topic being discussed in class or something brought up over the course of a conversation with friends, I’ve noticed it lingering for quite some time. I’m currently taking a Pakistani Literature course, so there’s obviously a lot of talk about the Partition and the life of people in Pakistan and India. A few days ago, we watched a short documentary about a girl who’s father and uncle tried killing her for marrying a man without their permission – they shot her and threw her in the river because she had disrespected them and “tarnished” the family name. As this young girl who had just been traumatized and severely injured began seeking justice for what had been done, she was coerced into publicly forgiving her father and uncle, which, according to Pakistani law, meant they were innocent and free to go. Later on, the young girl said these men were forgiven in the name of the law, but they would never be forgiven in her heart.

These situations are never easy. As a devout Christian, I believe very strongly in forgiveness. I believe the only reason I am able to live the way I do is because I have been forgiven. But what do you do when someone tried to kill you, or if someone hurt you in a way that was irreparable? Do you forgive them? Is it possible to forgive them? I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer… everybody reacts to things differently and everybody believes in different things. But I think grudges hold you down and put a weight on your heart that can become detrimental to growth.

Maybe some people don’t deserve forgiveness, but the world would be a much different place if everyone got what they deserve. I believe in the power of letting go – what’s been done can never be undone and you may always be left with a scar to remind you of what has happened, but until you let go, you’re picking at a scab that’s trying to heal. You’re making the process last longer and become more painful.

Wish people the best, even if they’ve given you the worst. Send a prayer or a good thought their way, and let go.

…home?

“Home is where the heart is.”

“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.”

“Home – a place your feet may leave but your heart will always be.”

The longer I’m away from home, the more I begin to question what “home” actually is. When I leave school for breaks, it no longer feels like I’m going home – it just feels like leaving school. But I feel at home when I spend late nights at a donut shop with one of my best friends, or when I go on random Target runs with my literal BFF. I even feel at home when I spend hours in the car talking to my brother about life and all it encompasses. I don’t feel at home when I’m at home. I feel at home when I’m sitting in the nearby soda shop hanging out with my college friends. I feel at home when we spend hours in the library studying, when really we’re just hanging out. But I don’t feel at home when I’m at college. So, what is home?

Maybe there’s more validity to these sayings than we can understand until we venture out to find our own sense of home. I stumbled upon one quote by Matsuo Basho that says, “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” I’m not sure Matsuo could have gotten any closer to the truth. We spend our whole lives wandering from one place to the other – sometimes we’ll stay for a while, other times we’ll leave about as soon as we got there. It’s because of this that calling a place a home can be difficult. But I think we do a pretty good at job and finding a home within the journey. We try new things, spend time with the people we love, and we push forward to tomorrow. And all the while, we find ourselves at home over and over again.

Eat the donut- it might bring you home.

Who am I

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

 

My name is Erin and I am a lover of all things travel, writing, and dreaming, though not necessarily in that order. I am a college student with no prospects of becoming the next Ernest Hemingway or any other famous writer, and I don’t foresee myself leaving as large of a mark on the world as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. I do, however, want to leave something. So maybe that’s why I’m writing now. Perhaps the words I leave behind, be it on page or online, will stick and that will be my way of changing the world – even a little bit.

There is not a lot to who I am because chances are, I am just like you. I feel passionately about many things, such as the power of an educated mind, the love of a broken heart, and the beauty of a simple thing. I have dreams and aspirations, both realistic and unrealistic. I am very good at contradicting myself and I often get lost when telling a story. I love meeting new people and trying new things, and I am a firm believe that the best things in life happen just beyond your comfort zone.

I will talk a lot about life and share quotes and stories that I hope will encourage you one way or another. I hope there are times where you disagree with what I say, because that means you are thinking critically about the words of others, and that’s great. I also hope there are times where you agree passionately with what I have to say, because that means you are feeling passionate, and that is wonderful. But most of all, I hope that no matter what, at the end of the day, you are left with a constant reminder that it is always a good day for a good day.

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