I know you are all waiting with bated breath, faces pressed up against your screens in eagerness to hear if I survived the terrifying episode in the tunnel. However, my heart is bursting with another matter tonight, so this post will serve as your intermission.
You know what I love about you? You always have something good to say. When everyone is standing around ready to critique and put down and nitpick, you – without hesitation – put forth something positive and beautiful and true that we all saw, but didn’t see because our eagerness to pass judgement made us blind to what’s important.
I don’t think words have ever made me feel so beautiful.
Look, I really don’t know how to take a compliment. As one can tell from previous posts, they’re not my “love language,” and I don’t know what to do with them. This post already makes my skin crawl because I am nervous that you, who have been generous and kind enough to assume that these ramblings are worth even a bit of your time, will think me vain or self-righteous for posting it.
But I am reminded tonight that this exercise is not about that; it’s about processing through words, keeping a record of kindness and beautiful moments that have shaped me, and – here at least – preserving a very important memory.
The words were spoken by a Sweet Prince.
If I can’t take a compliment in general, I really don’t know what to do with them when they come from an admirable or admiring man. Usually, they serve to increase my gratitude but do little by way of changing the way I look at myself.
(I know that can be to a fault, and thanks to a RoomieSister, I’m working on it. Promise.)
I don’t know why this time was different. But I do.
Sweet Prince’s words were brought to me in complete humility, an insight into a part of me that I had never seen reflected in a mirror or praised in a birthday card. Maybe the quote means little to you. Maybe it seems simple or silly. But as instinct prompted me to deny or brush off what he said, the uniqueness of the comment revealed a statement on the world which I was to learn from, not shove away.
It was a truth about me. And, I should go ahead and admit it, one that I like about myself. It just wasn’t one that I realized was rare or special, that made me stand out in any way to the Prince. It was a comment that was not given lightly, but with thought and [true] appreciation. Who was he to see this in me? Why did it jar him enough to mention it?
Did I ever thank him for it? Let him know how his thoughtful sentiment added to my purpose, my self-worth, my perspective on the human condition?
I hope I did.
Tonight, I sat still as the house lights came up and didn’t move for intermission, while patrons chattered around me. I was so pleasantly gratified with an evening of free entertainment, produced and performed by many that I love and cherish and find to be incredibly talented.
My delight was suddenly assailed by a wave of skeptical commentary from those behind me. Barely had the curtain closed before the critique began.
Where is the grace? Where is the valid, factual praise that our vastly skilled brothers and sisters deserve to overhear us imparting?
I shouldn’t have been shocked, not in the least. Moreso, I was sad and felt pity for those who felt that harmful words were necessary in the midst of such beauty.
And the Prince’s words came flooding back to me.
I felt choked, like I needed to prove him right and say something that he would expect, but the pressure weighing down on me startled my voice away. Finding something to laud wasn’t the problem. (Truly, there were so many astounding positives that a reality check could have shut down the negative patrons’ conversation in a heartbeat).
It was the fact that I heard those Princely words but once, and in them, he took possession of my attribute. He became its champion and defender, and I became afraid.
Afraid that it was only something beautiful when he was there to notice it. When he was there to affirm it. Perhaps it was only a beautiful truth about me while he was in this World, but now that he has gone on to Another, how can it still be?
It doesn’t make much sense, but when does grief, really? Terror haunts me that no one will really know that part of me again like he did. This little, tiny, single moment that made me understand something beautiful about myself – what are its implications on my life and my identity now that he is not here to explain them?
I will go and tell every person specifically what I loved about this night, this show. They deserve it. I pray that somehow they feel and understand that it comes not from me, but from the gracious gifts of a loving Father and the life-changing presence of a Sweet Prince.
Wish you were here.