For someone who keeps a lot of their deepest emotions well hidden, I hesitate to write this. Yet, whilst I don’t believe it is my nature to be completely self-indulgent, I have a feeling that my experiences are not in any way unique, but that they may resonate with others and therefore be of some help.
It’s really hard when you’ve done your very best and it turns out that it’s not actually good enough. Some of which is down to your level of understanding and some of which is not having been given the proper blueprint and tools to complete the task in the first place.
When we set out to do something new we will have many things at our disposal. We will have some previous generic knowledge as to how we might approach the task; to which we will add new learning, from books or instructions and if possible from other people. We will take all of this and try to form it into a cohesive understanding of what we need to do and then attempt the task. Add into this a willingness and desire to do our very best and we open ourselves up to the vulnerability of being tested and tried and sometimes found wanting.
This is the most painful part of the whole process. It’s the tears at a drop of a hat time; when you feel vulnerable to any sense of judgement or act of kindness; when you want to withdraw even deeper into your shell….
… and it’s easy to stay there, and bemoan the situation, scrutinising your discomfort internally or if you’re lucky sharing it with your closest confidantes; and if this stage is the most painful, then the next stage is often the hardest.
It will come inevitably to a point though when you can no longer disguise what you’re feeling on the inside and then the dam will burst and you will find that all of your anxieties and fears are laid bare. In some ways your worst nightmare and in others a blessed relief.
For this is where the healing process can begin. Not some overnight miracle, but a gradual reflection on why what has happened has happened and how you can move forward from it. You will need to be honest with yourself and recognise what part your own desires and expectations have played in the situation; where things might have been done differently, both on yours and others parts.
You also have to be prepared to accept that the advice and encouragement you are being offered is genuine and that you are worthy to receive it; because we don’t always recognise ourselves when seen through the eyes of others, but they are so often the mirrors to our souls.
We can then be ready to move on. A little stronger, a little wiser
The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)
Life itself is never easy, and our trials may be incomparable, even trivial, to those faced by others on a daily basis. Our greatest comfort though is knowing that if we can hold on to our faith then the bigger picture for us is already known by God, and that he will be beside us as we travel over the rough and the smooth paths to get there
So I would encourage you to be prepared to allow yourself to be vulnerable from time to time, to open yourself up emotionally and honestly; because in that way you may just find out where your strengths lay.
The pictures that accompany this blog are details from the painting Gentle Spring by Frederick Sandys (1829-1904), a Victorian Pre-Raphaelite painter; which hangs in the Ashmolean museum in Oxford. It’s relevance is simply no more than that it is such a beautiful painting that draws my attention on each visit, and each time makes my heart soar.