Monday, September 17, 2012

Wear Yours with a Difference

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the young Ophelia is tormented by grief and guilt over the death of her father. A misunderstanding results in her suicide. But in her final moments, Ophelia offers rue to those who hear her, admonishing them to “wear [it] with a difference.” In Shakespeare’s England, flowers were symbols for various emotions or characteristics. The virtue of grace would have done Hamlet well, instead of seeking vengeance.

I’m drawn to the character of Ophelia because she is tragic, like many things in this life. Her grief is unwarranted, her suicide devastating, because she is not responsible for any of the affairs unfolding around her, but the victim considers herself the perpetrator and cannot handle the responsibility of the guilt. She crumbles.

Life is not easy. If only some of us were to wear grace with a difference. Tragedy would still occur, no doubt. But the world does not need more condemnation; it needs forgiveness. Certainly we all do. A chance. A kind word. A safe place to stand when everything around us is falling apart, abusing us, subjecting us to exploitation and over-work. We are weary, victims, perpetrators, and human beings deeply in need of grace.

My life has not been easy, though perhaps it has been more simple than I realized. I have spent my days consumed with worry, bitterness, rage, and have viewed it all through a caustically critical heart. But touches of grace have changed me for the better. The world does not need more people like me. It needs people seeking love, seeking the good of others before their own, kinds words, encouragement, peace. I have fought for my way, for everyone to know that I’m right, for everyone to believe me.

At the end of the day, it is not important if you believe me, or even like me. Love is what is important. Love is important to me because I am a follower of Yeshua. I have failed in following His precepts. I have been caustic when I should have been gentle; hardhearted when I should have been tender; critical when I should have been accepting. I have been hurt deeply and have used that as an excuse to hurt others.

I do not wear grace with a difference. Ophelia, although fictional, is a tragic symbol for what happens in a world fueled by revenge and selfishness, not servanthood.

But I have experienced grace. I want to be different because of it.

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