Hurt & Hope

For the last 36 hours, I’ve been hurting, right alongside so many others, because of all the anger and hurt that I’ve seen. It’s been spewed in every direction. I’ve been hurt by having my own words and feelings dismissed as if they aren’t important – and the thing is guys, I don’t say HALF of what I want to. I don’t respond to nearly the things that I’m tempted to address. And I try extremely hard to stay tough in the face of all that I see. 
But today, I’m tired.

I’m tired of the anger and hatred.

I’m tired of news outlets. 

I’m tired of politicians and their empty words.

I’m tired of knee-jerk reactions and assumptions.
Most of all, I’m tired of pretending it doesn’t hurt. I keep that mask on to protect my husband. If he sees that I’m fearful or a blubbering mess, he has to carry that along with the rest of the weight of his job. 

I keep that mask on to protect my daughter. She’s just beginning to understand how much ugliness is in the world and when she sees it directed at her Dad, her heart is damaged a little more each time.

I keep it on to protect my mama from worrying about me any more than she already does. 

I keep that mask in place because that is my job, that’s how I am a partner and a help-mate to my husband. 

Besides, sometimes, honestly, denial is easier. There. I admit that.
But today, I’ve been an emotional mess. There’s barely been any mascara, much less a mask. 
Here’s the thing, friends – I want to love people. I honestly don’t care about your skin color, your orientation, your ethnicity, your religion, or your lack of religion. (Just don’t hate on cats, sweet tea, or college football. Come on, people, you gotta work with me a little.)
I want to love because the non-cynical, optimist buried way down deep in some dark corner of my heart, wants to. And I want to because, regardless of what you think, or think you know, or have experienced about Christians, this one believes and holds tight to what Jesus says are the most important things – love God, love people. Love people because He loves them, because He loves me, even at my most unlovable. 
I want to be hopeful. I want to believe that we can be better than we are. I want to believe that people will TRY. And I want to try.

But lately, I have felt so beaten down. I’m just tired. My heart is tired. My soul is tired. 
I’m going to choose hope, though, because I must. I’ve had this conversation with folks before, and I just can not live in darkness. 

If I give in to the cynicism that threatens to take over my heart and the darkness that tries to engulf my mind, I’ll never survive. I can not live without hope. 
I’ll give my handsome, police hubby a kiss as he walks out the door for his next shift, and I’ll tell him to remember why he does this job. I’ll remind him that the sheepdog is misunderstood and unloved, but is the one the sheep will always depend on when the wolf comes. And I’ll thank God that I married a man brave enough, compassionate enough, resourceful enough, and resilient enough to do the job he’s called to. 
I’ve cried one more time re-reading these lines tonight – they’re from one of my favorite characters, in one of my favorite passages in all of literature. 

I’ve cried a whole lot of tears today. But I’ll get back to being tough one way or another. And somehow, I’ll choose to hope.

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