Every once in awhile, I’m wrong.
Sometimes, I’m wrong.
Other times, I’m really wrong.
I mess up. Misread someone. Make a quick judgement.
Do you do that?
How many times have I met someone and made up my mind right then and there about that person? Oh. So many times. And this has gotten me into trouble.
Because sometimes I like them a whole lot. Then I learn that they aren’t kind. Or careful with others. Sometimes they turn out to be people who want, actually like to damage others.
Boy. Oh, boy. Can that be an earth shattering conclusion to come to.
But, on the other side of the big, shiny coin, how many times has it been the other way? I met someone and hopped quickly to the assumption that the person is bad. Or annoying. That the person might just end up harming me.
Then I learn that the person has some kind of pain that motivates their actions. Or they just don’t make a good first impression. Sometimes they turn out to be people who want, actually like to build up others.
Man alive. Can that be a humbling realization.
Now, this next bit is going to sound crazy. Well, unless you write fiction. But, if you don’t write fiction, don’t worry…I’m a-okay.
I misjudged a character. A character I wrote. From my soon to be published novel, “Paint Chips”. (Watch for it as an ebook in January, 2013 and paper book April, 2013 from WhiteFire Publishing…plug, plug).
This character is mean. She’s bitter. Vindictive. Judgmental. Acidic. A viper.
Yeah. She’s all those things.
And I disliked her very much. At a few points during the writing of her character in the novel, I was tempted to toss her off the side of a mountain or have her break a nail or some other mean spirited mishap.
But now, a few years after I made her such a sour-puss, I’m beginning to understand her.
I’m writing her story. Giving her more life. Room to be. Allowing her a tenderness that was hidden.
And I pity her.
She is full of bitter bile. But that’s to conceal her deep devastation over how her life has turned. Gone bad. Rotted.
I am filled with compassion for her.
Now, before you go and accuse me of having more compassion for a fictional character than a real life, skin and hair person, you need to know this.
She is based on people I have actually known.
This character is the compilation of so many men and women who have used their words to hurt. Manipulate. Condemn.
Especially one woman.
A woman I never want to see again.
Who literally tried to destroy me.
And almost succeeded.
I have hated that woman. Wished ill upon her.
But that is a long story. And it isn’t fiction. So, I don’t care to share the whole of it.
However, now I see this woman. That something ate away at her. Some sort of canker grew in her soul, causing her to claw and tear at others.
My heart is broken for her.
And in the silence of my late night house, I want to grant her forgiveness.
I guess the best way that I, a fiction writer, can do that is by having mercy. On this character.
And, by doing so, help us to see that the most hurtful people are the ones who are more hurt.
We are all broken. Some of us more than others. And the only one who can heal or help us is the Lord. When I’m the one who is bitter, I find it takes that “30 seconds of insane courage” to personally trust Him, even just for a little relief, in just a tiny step. When I see the hurt in others, I may be able to offer some encouragement, but on the whole, I just have to pray hard for that person, and then let it go. It’s an intensely trying thing on both sides of the coin.
You are absolutely right, Janet. Thank you for sharing. You always have lovely insight. I truly value you as a friend.
Wow, that’s a powerful revelation, and a hard one. To be able to see the people who have hurt us as broken, to look past our own pain. I’m amazed, and awed at God, that He led you to that through fiction. LOVE it. Well written, my friend.
Thank you, Megan. 🙂
Susie, this was amazing. Thank you for sharing. God has been gracious to me in that He is continuing to open my heart to seek out the reasons why someone is hurtful, and this was beautiful.
And just so you know, I liked you from the moment I met you…. and I was right! 🙂
Kathi, you do my heart good.
I don’t even like to create fictional characters who are bitter and hateful, but after reading this post…well, I’m kind of seeing your point. People are that way for a reason. This is giving me something to ponder, alright. Thanks for your insights on this. They may just have a huge impact not only on my fiction, but on how I interact with real life people who are hard to be around.
Oh, I’m so glad that this has you pondering. You know, I don’t particularly enjoy writing bitter and hateful characters, but have found that it is necessary in order to tell a true story.
I’m so glad you stopped in and left a comment. 🙂