I pondered on the words. And realized that although she could hold the melody, my daughter probably did not realize the depth of the words. Or did she?
I don't know if I've ever shared this or not in my writings, but my grandmother's death was a suicide. I know... suicide is not something most people want to talk about. But I'm opening the lines tonight.
You see, I grew up hearing about the many skeletons in our family's closets. They were hard things to hear, and most of the time, my grand mom used humor to get by. Mostly, and specifically I had heard about the drowning of one of my grandmother's daughters. I knew she was a teen when she drowned, and that she drowned on Mother's Day. I knew my grand mom suffered an emotional breakdown, as a result of that tragedy. And I always sympathized imagining the pain of losing a child. That would make anyone crazy, right? But I never imagined that my grand mom carried the guilt of her daughter's death. You see I recently learned that it was against her husband's wishes that my grand mom traveled with her kids to a different town that day. She wanted to visit her mother, and the day ended in tragedy. A tragedy that would change the lives of my family forever. And so now, as I learned of this new piece of the puzzle, I sympathized with her in a different way. I began to think about the guilt that she probably carried her entire life. And I thought about how she must have longed to be free of it. Free of guilt. Free to be. I wonder if she ever experienced it.
Not too long ago, I watched a documentary about a man who murdered his girlfriend. He is serving a life sentence in prison. Apparently, even after his conviction, he continually denied committing the murder. However, when he received a letter from the victim's daughter (now a young adult) requesting to come visit him, he was given a new opportunity to admit his crime. When he sat across from the young lady, who asked if he killed her mother, he finally admitted to his crime. She even asked him about the details of the murder, and he shared some. What I found most interesting was how after the meeting, the man spoke about how he now felt a sense of relief, since admitting his crime. He had lived in denial and guilt for so many years. And for him to be able to share what he had done, as he stated, "it brings me relief". Although still in prison, he is feeling free. Free of denial. Free to be.
I pondered on these things, feeling empathy for this stranger. And for all who are still living their lives in guilt, shame, denial. Galatians 5:1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Feelings of guilt, shame, and denial keep us in bondage, and it's hard to enjoy the gifts and blessings that God gives us, when we are in bondage. However, when we allow for Christ to take the guilt, the shame, and denial from us, we begin to feel "relief". We can begin to feel free.
I am learning to be free to be me. That is my daily goal. You see, being me does not mean perfection. Actually, I am far from it. I didn't commit a crime, and I have not lost a child, but I know what it is to feel guilty and shameful. I know what it is to do wrong and see the pain you've inflicted in someone's eyes, as their tears roll down. I know what it is to not forgive yourself to the point that you don't accept yourself. And you deny others the opportunity to get to know you....for who you are .
Yet, gratefully, I also know that God intends for me to be myself in Him. To let go of those skeletons that still try to hold me back from today's livelihood and His mercies. To indulge in knowing that I am a child of He who loved me so. So much that He died for my sins. So much that He pardons me. He accepts me. He loves me.
Every now and then I catch myself...feeling free. And I thank God. Every now and then I let go and dare to be..... free, free to be me. Because of what He is to me.