In last weeks blog, I referred to the term “po cat”, which was recently brought to my attention as not even being a term at all! The actual skunk reference is polecat. The polecat is an animal species in the weasel family, found in Europe, and only associated with our common skunk in that they both secrete a stinky smell from their anal glands. Isn’t it interesting how we can mishear a word or phrase?
For me, po cat was not my first mishearing, nor my last. As a young girl, I enjoyed singing along with country music at the top of my lungs. Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits was among my favorites list. And, I’m sure you remember the song, “Lucille”. The chorus went like this:
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
with 400 children and a crop in the field
I’ve had some bad times, lived through some sad times
this time the hurtin’ won’t heal
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille
Well, maybe it was four hungry children, but not to my ten year old ears.
Perhaps, I haven’t grown much because I still tend to mishear. Anyone who knows me, knows I am not prejudice, at all, however, if you walked in on me singing Gwen Stefani‘s, Hollaback Girl, you would hear me saying, “I ain’t no Harlem black girl.” (Disclaimer: don’t google the lyrics because the gym version is much tamer than the real version 😳).
So, as you can see, we often don’t hear things the way they are intended. As a matter fact, I’ve heard it said, “Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.” Perception altars views. Sometimes we need to take a step back and look from a new angle. I experienced this recently. For 29 years, I have had a false impression of the following picture:
Do You See What I See?
Our past experiences have a way of warping our views. Our perception can be skewed because much like a cataract, our past hinders our vision. We need the cataracts removed and healing to take place, so we can see clearly.
In 1988, I went off to college. Footloose and fancy free, I was young and naïve to the ways of the big city (to me, Tyler was a big city). I met new people and forged new relationships. I attended some college parties & encountered a different scene. I dabbled in alcohol drinking games with some of these new “friends”. It seemed innocent enough at the time.
After a few weeks of college, one of the upperclassmen asked me to go out a couple of times. We would just hang out together. Once, he even went with me to a football game at my alma mater. So, we had been dating exclusively for a few weeks, when he invited me to a party at a mutual friend’s house.
It was at this party, he date-raped me. I didn’t tell anyone. In the late 80s, date-rape was not a common term. And I always felt like it was my fault because I attended the party. (I will share more about this experience in later writings, but today I want to focus on this picture of Jesus standing at the door knocking.)
This portrait hung on the wall in the bedroom where I was raped. I don’t have a great recollection of the night’s events because I was drugged, but I plainly remember this picture of Jesus. For 29 years, this picture has brought me feelings of condemnation and shame. My mind told me that this was my way of escape. I would think of the rape and imagine Jesus there saying, “get out of this room”. As if, the portrait should have been a warning sign.
This past week, however, I had an epiphany! I have been researching during my Bible study time about our eyes and how we see (2 Kings 6:8-23, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18, Revelations 3:14-22). I have been asking Jesus to let me see how He sees.
The relevance of Jesus’ portrait in the room completely changed in my eyes. I no longer see a condemning Jesus, but I see that Jesus was with me in the room the entire time. In that dark moment of my life, Jesus was right there. In the midst of my pain, Jesus never left me. When I was blind and could not see, Jesus was still present.
He is here all the time. He never stops knocking. He just waits for us to open the door.
What a revelation! That portrait was not ever meant to be a source of condemnation! That portrait was meant to assure me that I was never alone. Jesus was there!
Mark 4:22-23 (NLT)
For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.
Dear Lord, help us hear and see with our spiritual ears and eyes, so we can understand Your love for us. Amen.