You suck. I suck. We all suck.
How do I know we suck?
It’s the guy who cuts you off and nearly causes a collision on the road. It’s the store clerk treating you poorly simple because they hate their job. It’s the friend who you thought you could trust proving this may not be the case at all and in the process mangling your heart with a freshly-sharpened knife.
Simply put, people suck.
Okay, people don’t suck all the time. Nay, I’d even venture to claim that the majority of time, we’re actually pretty cool homies with good intentions.
Most of the time, that is.
Those other times though, we can be pretty sucky people. We recklessly chase after some sort of fleeting goal, whether it’s taking advantage of someone in an attempt to appease that nagging sense of insecurity and loneliness within us or lashing out at those we love because of our own dark anger. Our suckiness takes many dreadful forms.
And experiencing the suckiness of others really sucks. It makes you wonder “what the hell is that person thinking?!?” and leaves a heavy, nearly unshakable feeling in that area of your body between your heart and upper abdomen. It makes you want to run away and live in a cave (next to the sea and with bathroom facilities, preferably) with nothing but some cookie dough and your Harry Potter novels. And maybe a Poodle too, y’know, for company when you’re taking a break between chapters.
But even more dangerous than this sense of “I’ve got to go live as a hermit void of interaction with the human species!” is the temptation to believe that these “sometimes” aren’t even “sometimes” at all; they’re actually an “always.” People ALWAYS suck.
And even scarier than this thought is the transformation it brings about within us. In an effort to protect our hearts from hurt, we close up; we fortify those metaphorical walls around our little beating hearts. And when we do this, when we rid ourselves of positivity and of compassion for others, what do we become? Sucky. I spy a paradox! In an effort to protect ourselves for the suckiness of others, we ourselves become sucky.
My man C.S. Lewis wrote about this, and his words are better than mine:
(Fun fact: this is my favorite excerpt from him and his “The Four Loves” is entirely worth the read.)
So before you write off people as the worst creatures in the entire world (which, trust me, I’ve been close to doing on several occasions – even had the pen and paper handy), remember this: we don’t ALWAYS suck.
How do I know that we don’t always suck?
It’s the gentleman who rose to allow my grandmother a seat on the tube. It’s the kind chaps who’ve stopped to ask if we need directions while in Dublin. It’s that friend sitting with you in a hostel hallway listening to you complain about the same thing you’ve been complaining about for years as that obnoxious Ke$ha song from the bar next door seeps through the windows.
It’s you. It’s me. It’s Him, the image in which we are made.
That’s why we don’t always suck.
But sometimes we do suck, and when we sometimes suck, we need forgiveness. And forgiveness – true forgiveness – is something not easily accomplished.
Because, let’s face it, there are some people who really, really, really don’t deserve forgiveness. At all. In fact, these are the people with their head buried so far beneath the sand of their own selfishness and conceit that they don’t even REALIZE they need forgiveness.
But we gotta forgive them anyways. Why? Because even when we didn’t at all in 100 million years deserve it, we’ve been forgiven. By others. By God.
Then there’s also that creeping feeling that forgiveness equals weakness. It’s the slap to your forehead and questioning yourself in second person: “Fool! How could you let them do this to you again?!”
But as a wise friend pointed out, forgiveness comes from strength, not from a lack of it. God forgives even the worst of us wee little humans, and is He considered weak? Nah, bro! Forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing the offense against you to mean nothing; it means acknowledging the fault and wrongful action in another, but realizing that the fault doesn’t define them as a person, as a soul. It means acknowledging the hurt but still loving them anyways as God has done for us.
Honestly, I don’t know exactly what the process to true forgiveness (the real kind, the kind that fills even the deepest crannies of our hearts, chasing out those pesky stains of resentment and instead replacing it with sweet, sweet peace) entails or feels like because, like much of the world, I’m still working on that myself.
But I feel like this is a lesson God really REALLY wants me to learn because He keeps shoving it into my naive little face. And if it’s a lesson He wants me to learn, then maybe it’s a lesson He wants you to learn too. So here I am, writing this in an effort to share this life lesson about sucky people and forgiveness and obvs because writing is all sorts of cathartic.
1. People suck. (Including you, including me).
2. But not always.
3. In fact, we’re pretty cool.
4. But when we do suck, we need forgiveness.
5. Forgiveness is hard but we gotta do it anyways.
Rock on, my friends.
P.S. Sorry, no European photos this time. My words will have to suffice. Also, congrats if you read all the way through. You’re beautiful.
“This Isn’t Everything You Are” – Snow Patrol
I’m in Ireland currently (this is where you pause and ask “why are you writing this instead of actually doing things?!?” to which I respond “because I’m on a bus headed back to Dublin from the Cliffs of Moher and inspiration can strike anywhere okay?!?!?”), and so I thought “hey, I’ll post a song from an Irish band.” But I really felt this song was appropriate, even though Snow Patrol isn’t from Ireland. They’re actually from Northern Ireland, a completely different country. However, both countries share the same Irish isle, so we’re going to let it slide this time since they’re neighbors.
Plus, this song is the essence of beauty.
(Also I met him once so HAY.)
So I’ll just leave you with this: