Folks, this is the stuff my novels are made of. I daresay that this shadow is probably what inspires a lot of art and creativity in this world. And frankly, I think it's a shame that this is the very thing so many people try to deny, bury, and hide from the world because it just scares people and, well, we fear what we don't understand. That's a shame, really, because I think that understanding ourselves at our worst is the only way we learn how to be better people. Unfortunately, most people don't agree with me on that point. In fact, I'd say this is the #1 reason why I left Christian writing and switched to fiction. Folks in the Christian end of the publishing industry thought my views were "too postmodern" and thought such darkness should never be exposed, much less brought to the light of day. But put that in the setting of a mystery or sci-fi novel, and they eat it up. I was recently laughing with my husband and mother over the irony of getting a publishing contract for Splinter. That I was so angry with the world at one point in time that I wrote a novel where I destroyed the planet shows something wasn't right in my head. That somebody said "yea, let's publish this and give it to the world," shows that there are people that get that frustration, and relate to it. It seems it's all in how you package it.
But back to my point, which is that we all do have that dark side in us, and there are going to be times when we're pushed to revealing it. The world isn't going to be all unicorns and rainbows and there are going to be times when we've had enough. God himself got angry - just read The Bible and you'll see he got ticked to the point of sending His own people into 70 years of captivity! Of course He was also gracious and sent His son, but Jesus also got mad when he made a cord of whips and overturned moneychangers tables outside the Temple (which I think was pretty awesome of Him). So if the Creator of the Universe and His only Son got mad at the unfairness and injustice of the world, then why do we try to pretend we're better than our Maker by trying to shove our frustration in a corner and pretend that "it is well with my soul?" Man, I hate that song. It's such a filthy lie. You try to tell me that any old thing that happens and you'll calmly say "well, praise God" and go on sipping your coffee while the world is blowing up? I don't think so. You're gonna scream, cry, complain and wail at the world about the insanity of it all, just like the rest of us. I'll be the first to admit that it's not well with my soul and I've got problems, and so does everybody else. I'm almost 37 years old and I've NEVER seen anybody that well adjusted. And by the way, did I mention that I hate that song because I think it's a hedonistic deception? Yea, I call that bluff.
We're human beings and we can only take so much. When it gets to the point where you're stressed, taken for granted, and your needs aren't being met, it's going to get ugly. Frankly, I don't think there's anything wrong with that because it forces us to stop, take stock, and defend our right to have our own needs met. And knowing what pushes your buttons helps you to know yourself better, and to know what you need to do when those stressful times come around again so you'll know what you need to do to prevent such breakdowns, or to deal with them more effectively when it does happen. And when you know yourself well enough to realize these dark episodes will pass, you know what happens? You find that you're not put off when you see it in others. You might get frustrated, but you also have some grace and are able to forgive and just let it go, knowing this isn't their true personality and it's an extreme due to too much stress and too many unmet needs.
Now I'm not saying I excuse such things. Of course, we aren't excused from our behavior during such episodes and can and should be held responsible for our words and actions during these times. I'm saying that by realizing that it's in you and knowing what triggers it, you can figure out how to avoid such times as much as possible and handle them better when they do roll around. I'll be the first to say I'm not proud of many things I said over the past couple of days - but I also feel I handled it better than I did even 2 years ago, because I was better able to articulate the source of my frustrations and what I needed to get past them. And people responded too, with sympathy and compassion. My honest acceptance of this shadow and ability to admit it helped others to help me. And I hope I can return that favor to all of them the next time they face such trials.
So don't be too scared of that shadow. It's part of the balance in all of us and knowing the bad as well as the good can help us to be a better all-around person.
That's all today. Enjoy a video share for a song for days like that - and inspiration for a lot of my writing!