My BHH (Better half of my heart) told me that some contraption he’d made was stolen right off our property. He has no idea when it was stolen, but he noticed it was missing today.
“I have a hunch they took it because they thought it was really neat. Maybe they admired it and thought it would be useful” He said. “So it is kind of flattering that it got stolen.”
While watering my potted flowers this evening, I pondered his reaction of being flattered that something he’d made was stolen. The flowers are struggling, now, in the August heat. The water coming from the hose, connected to the spigot, connected to the city’s tower of rusty reserves is just not the same as rain from above. (Especially when I took a day off from the watering chores yesterday.)
There is an element of flattery, yes, in something one has created, being admired to the point of coveting. But it ends there. Flattery may feel good. At first. In the end it’s hollow. Fake. Someone only said the flattering thing to further themselves in some way, or to sell you something, or to trick you into something. It is nothing at all like the true appreciation of a fellow brother or sister’s gifts and callings. That can actually restore life, like rainfall. Flattery which leads to coveting which leads to theft is like a hot August day, without so much as a hose of rusty groundwater to coax things along.
One of the biggest aspects of my recovery has been finding out who I am. Who I really am, as God knit me together to be. And realizing that for as many billions of people who have lived on this earth in six thousand plus years of existence: no two have ever been the same. And that is by God’s design. And that is to be celebrated. Evil would have everything look alike, assimilation through power-over and watering down until all the salt is gone. God adores making things that are similar in nature–but yet their very own. Like snowflakes. And seeds. Kittens; and babies.
I am learning how to embrace who I am, as a child of God, an individual. A lover of words and flowers and dirt under my toes. A lot of people tried to steal that away from me. Others tried to make it into something else, flooding me with insults and jokes and suggestions that were killing to my spirit. I still bristle whenever I think someone may be trying to do that to me. To tell me who I really am or ought to be. Until I remember the things I’ve learned in therapy and decide I do not have to feel that way inside; no matter what they may be telling me.
I can recall being looked at like I was an offering on a dinner plate, by many people, in my childhood. I found none of that to be flattering. It made me want to disappear. It still causes me to want to hide. That aversion to being looked at remains to this day. “Quit looking at me!” I sometimes want to scream; when I notice someone’s eyes on my person. It was like some of my abusers actually wanted to be me, even as they told me the me I was was worthless and dumb. In the end, they were content to try their best to ruin me. They almost did. But God is in the business of restoration, in between making new snowflake patterns to add to the zillions He’s already created.
So now that I am starting to put myself into the world–the real me, with all my uniqueness and all my quirks, I know that people will look. Some may admire. Others may dislike. A few may even covet, or try to flatter. In the end, how I react to that is what will matter the most. Because I am not going to be able to stop another from stealing from me, if that is their intention.
And so my BHH taught me a lesson tonight. (He often does.) Someone committed a sin against him, and he decided to see it as affirmation of his God given ability to make something really great, from scratch, with his own two hands. A gift he thoroughly enjoys and which he often uses for the benefit of many others.
I have no doubt he will remake the thing which was stolen; probably first thing tomorrow. I am thankful for that. People can steal the thing. Again and again. And there isn’t much we can do about that. But they can’t steal the gift without our permission.