It doesn’t happen all the time, but occasionally…I need to go back.

Back to my bedroom with the white furniture and the pepto pink bedding where, as a child, I spent a lot of time with my cocker spaniel named Sheba while my parents fought outside my door. Back to the house we built on Hamilton Drive as a representation of a fresh start where I spent a great deal of time by myself as my parents traveled to appointments with my sister during the months leading up to and then following her heart transplant. Back to the young woman in college on the track field who ran and ran to escape her problems and with it her life.

I have spent many hours going back to myself at different points in my life and I know that in going back, my meandering will not bring forth much productivity becuase things cannot be changed. So I sit and question…WHY this strong need to revisit? The only answer I can come up with is this:

I long to make friends WITH her.

I recently became aware how incredibly hard I am on myself and through it, realize further that SHE, myself from any day other than today, has been my enemy at times…the very person at fault and my greatest undoing. Her decisions have haunted me and she has sabotaged my efforts in moving forward with her incesant stepping and screw ups. Her mistakes, her choices and her shortcomings have flooded my thoughts and there are days, I can’t shake her.

Abraham Lincoln has said, “I destroy my enemy when I make him my friend” and  I realize that my opinion of myself, of HER, needs to change. It HAS to because I cannot afford to live double-minded…

I cannot love my neighbor if I do not first love myself.

So each time I sit with her in that bedroom when she felt at fault for the fighting or the abuse or alone in that house scared and confused or on that track worn and emptied…my heart wells and overflows with compassion towards her. I look into her eyes in hopes she SEES the compassion I have for her; the kindness and the mercy for IT. IS. HIS. I want her to see WHO He sees so she can make peace with herself again so she can embrace her original identity rather than continuously cycling through the insecurity she systematically drapes herself in.

So each time I go back and sift through my box of memories, I whisper: “You do not have to try so hard.”

Stop trying to fix. Stop trying to be good. Stop trying to be enough. Stop trying to be seen. Stop trying to be heard. Stop trying to numb the pain. Stop trying to make sense and understand…

For there is no way in this lifetime to possibly comprehend all the WHY’s tucked up inside.

So once more today, I make my enemy my friend…

And let myself off the hook.

“Love and value others the same way you love and value yourself.” Romans 13:9