When I was little, I used to love to jump in the leaves.
I absolutely loved raking them, too. It made jumping in them even sweeter, when I had poured effort into creating the perfect pile, with the perfect dimensions. It had to be just wide enough and tall enough for maximum jumping crunch.
I remember feeling the wood of the rake's handle in my sweaty hands. I gripped it tightly, and pulled against the leaves hard. I ran it through the grass as fast as I could, visions of twenty-foot high piles of leaves climbing high up to the sky, just waiting to be jumped in. I would always get raw, red marks on my hands, but I hardly noticed. It was a small price to pay for the glory of leaping into a magical pile of leaves.
But one fall brought with it the day when I discovered a slug. This slug was lurking within the folds of a crispy leaf, just inches from my head. I jumped up from my leafy bed and ran inside, shivering with disgust.
Suddenly, the slugs were all I saw in the leaves. The raking ceased. The jumping ceased. My fear of nasty slugs overpowered the wonder that I held for jumping into the leaves. The slugs stole my wonder.
We come into this world with so much wonder. We marvel at everything, from touches to tastes to sights and everything in between. We long to believe, we long to love.
But then the slugs come.
Personally, I love to love. I love to be excited and to dive into something whole heartedly, whether it be a project or a relationship. I don't do things by halves, perhaps to a fault. I'm completely trusting...or completely afraid. I have so much love to give and I want to give it to EVERYBODY RIGHT NOW.
Until the slugs come.
The leaves were once a place where I loved to lay and look up at the pale blue fall sky. I loved feeling the brisk air on my face, chilly but not uncomfortable. The indescribable fall aroma was something that relaxed me and brought me happiness.
But then the slugs came.
People who used and abused, who filled themselves and then took off. And, silly me, I just kept right on filling. The world became less wonderful, and I became tired. Because I was never full. Life stopped being beautiful. The thought of trusting, of being vulnerable, of loving-- made me feel sick.
I had so much excitement for life. And I willingly gave it up to the slugs. I stayed inside and just watched the wind tickle the branches of trees that dropped leaves. But those leaves, all I saw in them were the slugs.
I'm sure you seasoned bloggers think you have this post figured out. Another cliche "See the Good!" post, encouraging to look past the slugs and see the leaves. Encouraging to GO LIVE YOUR LIFE, DESPITE THE SLUGS! You're partially right. Which means you're partially wrong.
I don't think we should look past the slugs. We need to see the slugs. See the bad. The bad is there, and the bad hurts. It hurts so, so, so horribly, and has terrible consequences. It persuades us to stop loving and trusting, and thus hurting ourselves even more.
We need to see the slugs.
About a year ago, I was talking to a formerly-close friend of mine about someone who was really hurting me. This person had said a lot of really nasty things to me. Deep down, I believed that the things he said were lies...but part of me also questioned whether are not they were true. I shared all this with my friend, and he replied: "The hurt is real. The lies are not."
That really struck me and has continued to stay with me. I thought that we just ignored the hurt, writing it off as irrelevant and as though it didn't actually matter very much. But no...it's okay to feel hurt.
The slugs are there. The slugs are real.
They're the people who hurt us. But place a couple of slugs in a huge backyard, filled with a thousand enormous trees shedding vibrant leaves. Look out into that backyard and know that the slugs are there. But we can't stay focused on a little blob of slime when there is so much beauty in front of us. How silly would it be to be so afraid of the slugs that we don't go jump in the leaves?
The slugs are real. But what is not real is the imagined threat that the slugs are to us. The lies that they the slugs tell us...that we're not good enough...that is not real! YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. I am sick and tired of this world proclaiming that we're not good enough.
The God of the universe CREATED you in His IMAGE AND LIKENESS and the world has the audacity to plant the idea in you're head that you're not good enough?! No, my friend. Not at all. The truth is, the world is not good enough for you. That is real, and that is the truth. You are beautiful. You are treasured. You are sacred. You are His.
God defeated the slugs. When God is for us and loving us unconditionally (despite our rather sluggish tenancies at times), what do we have to fear? The God who defeated death is in control of our lives. So trust Him. Easier said than done, right? It takes work. But it is always, ALWAYS worth it.
Let us not lose our wonder. Let us continually see all of the beauty of the world, of life. More specifically, let us continue to marvel at the beauty of our individual lives. You are alive, right now, for a purpose and a reason. How incredible is that? Let us not allow past hurt to rob us of the marvel and wonder that God created us to have.
Don't draw back when the slugs come. Let God brush off the slugs, and let it go. And keep jumping in the leaves.
I'm praying for you.