Some would say I live a charmed life. My parents have a strong, loving relationship. They've been married for 40 some on years now and still bicker and tease and love each other with a strength undimmed by time. The bickering has picked up just a little, I think because my parents are coming to terms with old age and death, and that hasn't been easy. But I digress.

I have a husband who loves me and our children and works every day to be the very best that he can be. We have a job. Granted, it's part-time, but my husband's part-time income is better than the income we were making 10 years ago when he was working full- time. (Thank a whole heck of a lot of education for that blessing.)

I have four happy and healthy kids. We struggle. We have testing moments. We have the times when we really can't stand each other, but so far a tickle war erases those memories and we can start again. I can still communicate with my kids. They still like me.

I have a house I live in. It's not mine, but it's a house with a decent sized yard that I'm not very good at taking care of. I live in a neighborhood that most people would give anything to live in. A neighborhood where I know many of the people and all of our children play together.

Some people would look at this and say I live a charmed life.

But they don't know the other half. The bankruptcy. The struggle every day to make ends meet. Even the rash that periodically makes its way over my body, making it impossible to sleep because I itch so badly. Things aren't perfect at my house.

They aren't perfect at any house.

But then again, maybe I do live a charmed life. Because every once in a while something happens and the uglier side of human nature rears it's ugly head, the side of human nature that I really don't see very often. My little bubble world is ripped apart and my innocence is shattered, again.

One night, when I lived in a place other than here, I was awakened at 3:00 in the morning by the sounds of banging and screaming. It was with horror that I realized that my next door neighbor was being thrown around by her very drunk husband. Sadly, the whole neighborhood could hear it. I know I wasn't the first person to call 911. We all sat in horror and prayed for the man and his wife, and that our kids would not awaken to hear this.

On another night, in another place, my husband called the cops on our neighbors. The next night we were privy to sit inside the window in the dark and listen to those same people threaten us and our children. It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. This was the place where I listened to arguments that quickly deteriorated to f bombs and I would turn on a movie really loud to try and drown it out. This was the place where I watched people who had nothing turn to the emptiness of drugs and drink to fill themselves up.

There are things I don't find funny any more. Abuse. Addiction. I've seen what it does to people. And I shy away from this pain. I have these experiences, I feel the pain of ugliness, and then I slowly build my little bubble back up.

It was shattered again recently. Ugliness towards a friend who didn't deserve such ugliness. It was pure hatred aimed at someone who has more love in her heart than I can possibly imagine. I could barely function as I realized the huge impact this was having on her, and the huge effect it was having on us who were only involved because we know and love her. I could think of nothing else.

I found out something. When my bubble is shattered I become less of a person. As I read the comments directed toward my friend, I wanted to attack back at those who attacked her. I wanted, in a very superior fashion, to get my viper tongue out and spew poison back at those who had poisoned her life. I wanted to defend her. I also wanted to defend myself, because who knows but that some day I will put a post up here that will unintentionally warrant this same kind of reaction. I wanted to whip a few 2x4s around to make her feel better, and to hopefully make it so someone will not do this to me.

In short, I was just like them for a while. I was the one who wanted to respond to hatred with hate--because it not only shattered her world, it shattered mine.

I didn't. I know, deep in my soul somewhere, that responding to hatred with hate only pours fuel on the fire. So I didn't. I've been told by the only perfect example that I know to pray for them that use and abuse me, and her.

Haven't done that one yet.

I think "they" are mistaken when "they" say that religion is an easy crutch.
8 Responses
  1. Melanie J Says:

    Very thought-provoking.

  2. Brillig Says:

    Beautiful post, Eowyn. I really deeply struggle with returning hate with hate, criticism with criticism, sarcasm with sarcasm. My brain knows it doesn't help at all. But my heart has a hard time responding properly.

    And, um, thanks... I adore you, you know that?

  3. Alexis Says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Emily Says:

    Powerful post, anyone (Or anyone with a loved one) who has been dealt the card of hate/abuse/addiction should remember this post. Powerful.

  5. L.T. Elliot Says:

    You are such a strong, amazing soul, Eowyn. As I read this post, I kept thinking that each time something shattered your bubble, you immediately responding in sheltering those around you first. Your world may have been shattered but you didn't let anyone else's shatter. How strong you are. How good you are.

  6. Kazzy Says:

    Wow. That was pretty raw. I think it is a real carnal/natural man tendency to return the hate. You are a good person.

  7. Nicely written, E. Love it.

  8. Powerful. I have a lot to learn.