They come in many forms: a layoff from a job, an illness, some other life event that makes us question the big picture, or in the form of a person.
Mine comes in the shape of a relative that I used to be very close with. Her particular brand of attack is a constant, thinly veiled hint that my soul is in danger. She feels that because I have not accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, that I am going to Hell.
There are so many problems with this, not the least of which is the fact that I don't believe in Hell.
No matter how many times I asked her to stop, the bombardment continued. I began asking less nicely, than less, until I became downright hostile.
Kinda like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iogo35GvYtE
Damn, I love Phil...
It's kind of funny, but, then it isn't. I've lost someone close to me because she couldn't see that she was making me hostile with her words. She would not hear me when I said that I would no longer speak to her if she continued. It got to the point that I was getting so angry over it, that I was turning into the exact kind of person that I imagined she thought I was.
It made me angry that she could not just accept me as I was; flawed like anyone else, but overall, a good person. I hold no malice for anyone, I am active in fighting for justice, I volunteer, I help those in need. I don't ask for praise or even acknowledgement of these things, I just ask that you overlook my shortcomings (however you perceive them) and see the good.
As I am writing this, I am realizing that I am asking of you (and that judgey relative) what I cannot do for myself. I guess I am having an epiphany of sorts. What I mean is that I am the harshest, judgiest, meanest, least tolerant of my flaws. If I can't see my inherent good, how can I ask anyone else to see it? If all I see when I look in the mirror is a middle aged, chunky failure, why should I expect anyone else to see me differently?
The biggest and most wonderful irony is that those who truly love me (not just my soul), see my beauty and my goodness and my charity and my passion and my authentic self. They see what I am begging myself to become. They see that I am already that person.
See yourself through a loved one's eyes. See yourself as you see them; perfect because you love them. We don't love others despite their flaws, we love them because we don't dwell on their flaws. We dwell on what makes them beautiful to us.
So, to my unwelcome teacher, thank you. You have made me realize that in wanting to change me, you only want to change yourself. I may be a disappointment to you, but to those that matter, I am perfectly imperfect and worthy of love without judgment.
I am blessed without your blessing.