"Hear the meaning within the word." William Shakespeare
As children we have all undoubtedly chanted the words, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!" These words are often spoken with much gusto, clenched fists, tears in eyes, facing down the playground bully, but as adults we know how utterly ridiculous this saying is. Truth is, words can, and often do, hurt.
Words - they can be written, whispered, shouted, spoken, sang and prayed. They can be truthful, painful, dishonest, empowering, enlightening, crippling, judgemental, angry, happy. Words can be given and words can be broken. Words have shaped great nations, crushed families, spawned religions. We can never underestimate the power words have over us. Whether you are an articulate orator, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, or just bumbling along trying to get your point across, know that what you say or write can have consequences that far surpass your expectations, and not always in a positive way. Words are weapons, and sometimes we find ourselves at war with one another, slinging words back and forth like hand grenades, with explosions that can shake us to the core.
The past five months have been devastatingly brutal on me, all due to words. Months ago I had the unfortunate experience of engaging in an exchange of both written and verbal words that uprooted nearly everything I thought I knew. The opposing side consisted mostly of individuals I care for deeply, though that didn't stop my from slinging my weapons directly at them. This war of words went on for some time, with many battles being fought behind the scenes. The dust finally settled with all parties retreating to our own corners to lick our many wounds, but the damage is irreparable. The words that were used like weapons in this exchange had enough power packed into them to completely destroy several relationships, with a ripple effect that continues even now. I do not at all regret my words, nor do I wish to take them back. Though hurtful, my words were true, and I walk away from this war battered, bleeding and bruised, but with head held high, knowing I was honest and that I will somehow learn from this experience.
I will not back down. In spite of all the angry words that were said, I will not slink away like a shamed dog with his tail tucked between his legs. I stand tall and proud, walking away from certain individuals with a finality that can not be undone. There comes a time in every one's life where you learn that putting your hand near a fire will burn it, so you stop. You stay away from the fire so you won't get burned. That is exactly what I have done.
Parkinson's disease is not going to make our lives easy, and while I don't expect an easy life by any means, I certainly don't want to do anything that will make our lives more difficult. My new rule for life is this - from here on out, I will surround myself only with people I know to be genuinely supportive, loving, helpful and positive. If you don't fit that description, then you just don't fit in. As strong as I like to think I am, I have learned in these past few months that I simply don't have it in me to raise three kids, deal with PD, and manage this huge storm cloud that looms over my head.
A word on forgiveness: by no means perfect, I do try to live by Christ's example, especially regarding forgiveness. I do have forgiveness in my heart for all wrongs done, those of long ago and those more recently. However, I can not erase my memories, therefore I can not forget. Also, it my strong personal belief that forgiveness does not equal atonement. You still have to make amends, make it right. Too much forgetting paired with forgiving quickly leads to enabling. That I will not be a part of.
How does this all relate to PD and my life with Shaky? Simple - with the negative components removed from my life, from our life together, I can be a much stronger wife and mother. I am not distracted from what my family needs by the sound of thunder rolling angrily in the distance. I have removed those storm clouds, walked away from those individuals it did more harm to associate with than not. It has been a painful break, no doubt, but I am confident that I am doing the right thing for me and my family.
" . . . but words will never hurt me."
Here are a few words that have brought me comfort recently:
"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell
"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."
"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." Mother Teresa
Matthew 6:14-15: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Romans 12:19-21 19 Do not give punishment for wrongs done to you, dear brothers, but give way to the wrath of God; for it is said in the holy Writings, Punishment is mine, I will give reward, says the Lord. 20 But if one who has hate for you is in need of food or of drink, give it to him, for in so doing you will put coals of fire on his head. 21 Do not let evil overcome you, but overcome evil by good.