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No More Hammers

Over the years their voices have grown fainter as they cry from the pulpit “obey, obey obey…” As it echo’s off the walls of the chapel my mind now seems to turn inward to a voice more calm and more sure than it has ever been. I have spent too many years taking the me that God created and tried to make it into a picture perfect reflection of “truth” and “good”. I have always known that I was not a round peg created for a hole
that’s shape was defined by others. I’m far too rough around the edges for that. But I believed them when they said the natural man was an enemy to God. So I let the words hammer on me a little harder and felt a little snugger in the hole. I believed them when they said things like it was better for some to have never been born than to be gay. And I believed them when they said there was only one path that leads to God. I believed a lot of what they said, and because I believed I let the hammer keep dropping, slowly altering the way I had been originally created. Yet in the midst of my belief a voice wept softly deep inside as though it knew all on its own that the hammer chiseled away at the beauty of its original creation. It was as though it could hear time and opportunity for what lay within to burst out into the world and cry “Here I am! This is what God really created!” was in danger of being buried beneath another drop of the hammer, and another, and another. I ignored the wood shavings that lay at my feet reminding me of pieces of me that were lost along the path to God. After all, this is what God wanted right? I’m not sure how or when it happened but slowly the voice within became louder than the voices that surrounded me, and as the hammer swung down to force me deeper into that hole my sole reached up and grabbed hold of it in mid swing and flung it out into the distance. The only thing that followed was peace and a feeling of freedom unlike any I have ever known. Removing myself from the hole is not without its struggles. Plenty of people show up with hammers all too willing to “do what is right” and hammer me back in. A war rages within some of us, not all. Do we listen to the voices of family and friends, who place expectations on us of who we should be? Do we listen to the voices of those who think they have authority over us and allow them to decide who we should be? Or do we listen to the voice inside that says; “There is more to me than this.” And then listen as God answers back; “Yes there is.”

-St. Jude


Diogenes said...

St. Jude, this brings back bad memories of when I was a young bishop with a hammer at times---not always but enough to make me shudder. "Wood shavings that lay at my feet"--what a poignant image. This made me think of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, if I remember it correctly:

"The wind to the rain said,
You push and I'll pelt,
so they smote the garden bed,
till the flowers knelt and lay lodged---
I know how the flowers felt"

The "letter killeth"---

jen said...

I cried. For so long I let everyone else tell me who I should be. Eventually, I was the one constantly hammering away at myself. I didn't need any one else to do it for me...

So glad its changing now.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to Jen. You get hammered for so long to conform, that after time you begin to hammer yourself, because you believe it is expected. I would beat and berate myself for hours on end. What a sad existence.

St.Jude said...

Jen, I’m so glad it’s changing for you!
We are the lucky ones, for some it will never change.
Diogenes, I haven’t read Robert Frost in years, thanks for reminding me how much I love his work.
I’m glad none of us are the same people we used to be. Hopefully we keep the good and recognize the not so good, and work to change it. Sometimes looking back at my former self is one of the hardest things to do.

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