I am often met along the way by my good friend, Self Pity. He came to visit me last night and made himself welcome and so all at home, he almost moved right in! At first, I didn't even notice that he was there with me. He is so soft spoken and sweet to my ears, it is often hard to detect when he joins me at the Table of My Own Undoing.
He comes in discreetly, so as not to disturb my treasured thoughts and just observes with me the tragic events that have, once again, befallen poor me. But, oh the sweet, sweet savor of the words he speaks to me, when at last he makes his presence felt! No-one, and I mean no-one, seems to understand me better or care as deeply as my good, dear friend, Self-Pity. How grateful I am for his companionship. How much I treasure the wisdom he extols. He seems to know just what to speak to me to make me feel better at those moments of despair!
Like me, poor Self-Pity is so often misunderstood. We share a common bond of this unfortunate experience between us. Perhaps that is why we have come to enjoy each other's company. After all, who else is there who will take the time to listen to the endless list of grievances that tell the story of our neglect and betrayal at the hands of those we thought we could trust? I propose to you that there is simply no one able and willing to accomplish this work in my life as devotedly and faithfully as my dear, neglected friend, Self-Pity.
He loves me, he loves me, he loves me so! Well, at least he feels sorry for me, and that is almost as good as love, isn't it?! He wraps his arms around me and squeezes me so tight, I sometimes wonder if I might suffocate right on the spot! He reminds me over and over again how much he, and he alone, understands me like no other! Why just last night he was commiserating with me in my suffering. "Once again," he whispered lovingly in my ear, "You have been abandoned in the hour of your need. And the saddest part is, you have always been there for them, haven't you, dear? Haven't you always loved them, cared for them, sacrificed for them, given them everything you have?" "Yes," I answered, grateful for the compassion of my dear, faithful friend in this dark hour of my need. His words were so comforting to the wounds that he was touching with his long, protruding fingers...Was there something he was rubbing in them, or was that my imagination? Something white and salty?!
"Thank you for your understanding, Self-Pity" said I. "No one else even cares. I am so completely abandoned and all alone... I find it all so unfair. After all I've done for them - all I've given of myself. I don't deserve this. Why do you suppose this is happening to poor, poor me?"
I was beginning to feel an icy wind blowing through my little abode, even though the sun was shining through the windows on my face. I wondered at how the sun could dare to enter into this moment of my despair. He should be ashamed to shine his light on my face when I all I wanted was to stay in the darkness with my only friend, Self-Pity. Was that too much to ask...?!
Undaunted by the invading sun, my dearest friend in all the world, Self-Pity, smiled his sympathetic smile and drew me closer still until I felt his breath upon my cheek. "Tell me more", he whispered. "It is I, your closest friend, come to comfort you in the dark, dark hour of your need. Like I have always told you, they don't deserve you, do they? You have been so good to them. So giving. So self-less. Why, you remind me of myself, sometimes! We give and give and give some more. And what do we get in return? A basket of heartache too heavy for anyone to bear. Life is simply so unfair, isn't it, dear?" He was stroking my wounds now, faster and faster...
"Look at them, all wrapped up in themselves! It's disgusting, isn't it? Do they even give you a moment's thought? Do they care for you the way you care for them? Do they pray for you as you have prayed for them?" Catching himself, suddenly, I saw a flash of terror streak across his face. He tried to recapture the words he had uttered, but, as we all know, words flung carelessly to the wind fly away and land wherever they like, never to be recaptured.
Startled at the mention of my oldest, dearest friend, Prayer, I fell on my knees in worship and gratitude to the God who hears my every prayer and knows my every need. Tears rolled down my cheeks like rivers that would never stop until they washed me whiter than snow...
Looking in the distance, over the heads of all the messengers that had surrounded me the moment I had prayed, I watched the scoundrel, Self-Pity, running for his life, naked and unmasked, screaming that he hated me after all, and was happy for all my misfortunes.
I looked around at all the friends my Lord had sent to comfort me - my dear, true friends, Forgiveness, Mercy and Unending Grace. In their company, I found the gift of healing and danced with the Angels of Joy and Peace around the throne of the King, who knows me better than I know myself and loves me anyway...
"The Lord is my strength and my portion forever..."
Psalm 73:26 NIV