some necessary pruning

conservatory garden, central park, nyc

This week was hard. Like, really and truly hard. Like “cry at least once a day” hard. My heart broke a little, in fact. Not the romantic kind of break (that isn’t nearly as painful in my experience), but the kind of break that comes from the realization that you are deeply flawed. And while I thought I’d eradicated said flaw, in fact I haven’t nor had I noticed that it was still there. And as a result of this flaw, I’ve alienated or hurt people. A broken heart that comes from learning how negatively someone sees you and then recognizing that everything s/he has said is true and that you needed to hear it, even if hearing it was incredibly hard. A broken heart that comes from regret and sorrow for past and present behaviors. And from knowing just how disappointed my mom would have been if she were here.

Oh, the things I would give for a do-over (or 100 do-overs).

I’m not writing this because I want anyone to feel bad for me. I don’t. I’m the one that got me here and I’m the one that has to get me out. And I’m getting there. I’m writing this because this isn’t the first time I’ve learned this lesson and I want it documented this go around. I’m writing this because writing is my outlet. I’m writing this because, even if I’m not prepared to be explicit, I do want to be real.

I’ve learned a lot this week. It’s amazing that there never seems to be less to learn, isn’t it? And while most of what I learned was about myself, I also learned a little more about Japanese culture, like that there is some real beauty in the Japanese traits of politeness and discretion that usually make me a little crazy, but when you’re sitting at your desk at work at 10PM crying because your heart hurts (and not just “tears rolling down your cheeks” but “tear streaming, nose running, breath halting” type of crying),  and you’re coworker just pretends that nothing is wrong and keeps doing her thing, you can’t help but recognize the value of such traits.

Any time I go through something especially difficult, my thoughts often turn to my mother and how I wish she was still around to help me through these things. Not because she’d make it all better or because she’d be on my “side”. She was always on my side in the sense that she wanted me to be successful in life, but if I was in the wrong, she wouldn’t tell me otherwise. She would, however, always help me see what I could do to make things better, to make me better. And then she would tell me she loved me.

The safety, security, and courage that come from unconditional love should never be underestimated.

I have a long way to go. Old habits die hard. And I have a lot of regrets. And a lot of apologies to make. I am also full of gratitude to the people whom I know I’ve hurt or wronged and who have given me their forgiveness without waiting for me to ask for it.

I’m sorry for being vague. I try not to be on the blog. But the wound is too fresh to open it up for public viewing and commentary. My heart still hurts and it probably will (and should) for a while. I’m also pretty ashamed and embarrassed. And while I’ve recognized what I need to change and made some improvements, I still have a long way to go. That’s all.

To end this on a more positive note, because really the result of all of this (I hope) is that I’m going to be a better person and that’s a good thing, I want to share one of my favorite quotes that is so very applicable.

Mere Christianity is one of my favorite books. C.S. Lewis so eloquently captures what he imagines Christ would say to each of us:

“Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.”

2 thoughts on “some necessary pruning

  1. I know I’m not your Mom, but I am a Mom, and your friend and I’ve been so impressed with how you have handled all the changes and challenges living in a new country and culture can bring. We all have flaws, and things that haunt us, but its how we handle them that speaks of who we really are. I don’t know the situation but I do know your heart and your intentions are always well meaning. It’s very easy to take offence when someone points out something wrong but it sounds to me like you we’re very humble about it, which is pretty fantastic and a good start to correcting whatever the flaw is! I love you! Call me anytime!

  2. What a beautiful quote. You are very brave, Chloe, to empty your heart like this. Sending you hugs and prayers from Walnut Creek. I lost my own mom fifteen years ago this May, so I can empathize with your feelings. Not a day goes by when I don’t think, “if only Mom were here”. I wish I had something to say that would take away the hurt…just know that you are not alone.

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