I tried to say this before.
As I have wrestled with courage and loss and vindictiveness during my life’s meltdown, as I have gritted my teeth and took another step even though I was terrified, as I have put aside my own feelings to deal with a boy’s—I have wondered and worried about becoming too tough. Someone once said to me, “you are going to have to develop a chip on your shoulder to get through this.” I hoped not. And I hope not. Not ever.
You see them in the grocery stores. Their card in the middle of isle as they wander half way down looking for something. When you politely say, excuse me, they glower. Or they aggressively wield their cart through the isle, little patience with others or you with your children spread out behind you like a wake. These are grandmas I tell myself. They are soft and gentle to someone. Where did their hard, crusty exterior come from? Why, at grandma age, are they so angry and used up? What did life do to them? Lord, spare me. Don’t let me grow hard.
Once, being told I wear my heart on my sleeve was an insult. Now I think it’s a badge of honor. I don’t want to put up walls to sulk behind. I don’t want to be cynical to hide my hurt. I want to open the wounds to the sun so they can heal cleanly, without infection. I want to remain soft, even a little raw. I said it before, new skin has so much more feeling than a big hard old callous.
So here is a quote I ran across that says what I am struggling to say. Frederick Buechner says it better :
To do for yourself the best that you have in you to do–to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst–is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed. (emphasis supplied) , Sacred Journeys.