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Outraged Revenge Post vs. Empathy

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Someone I care about recently called me a sanctimonious f’ing bitch, and suggested I share my true nature with my “Dear Readers”.

Dear Readers, in the words of St. Patrick,

I am a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many.

I am thin-skinned, usually sad, and generally, if I open my mouth on a topic, 100% right (i.e. I can be arrogant). I may forgive an unkind word or slight, but I never, ever forget. Just ask my husband.

Things I’m not 100% sure about:

  • honesty is the best policy, although I keep trying
  • no-contact the most moral way to handle a toxic mother
  • parenting
  • is anyone actually in hell
  • how the hell do I lose weight
  • marriage
  • am I sanctimonious

 

This is not a revenge post. I love this person who seems to hate me. I know her pains and her loneliness. While I do not share her perceptions, I understand they are hers and she believes them. I want her to be well, whole, happy and loved.

But is she right? Definitions according to Webster’s:

Sanctimonious: hypocritically pious or devout.

Hypocrite: being a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)

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by Fernando Botero

I try not to write about marriage too much because I’m not sure to what I owe our longevity (almost 22 years). And we still fight—passionately— about the printer not working and whose job it is to keep the wood stove lit.  I don’t write about asceticism because I’ve never met a can of Coke or turkey sandwich with a side of fries I didn’t like.

When I write about parenting, I am usually examining my failings.

I write about friendship, kindness and gratitude because I strive for these values, not because I embody them.

If you find me sanctimonious, please forgive me my trespasses. At the risk of sounding holier than thou, I quote Joan of Arc, who when asked if she believed she was in God’s grace replied:

If I am not, may it please God to put me in it; if I am, may it please God to keep me there. 

May we be less outraged and more empathic. May we listen to our critics enough to remain humble. May we love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us. (Matthew 5:44).