Thursday, September 27, 2012

Grace in labels

The shortest amount of time I’ve ever held a job was three days. And that was last week. Like so many times before my past had followed me. This time it was my legal record. A felony. Some DUI’s. I was upfront about my felony. How I had blacked out after taking an increase in dosage of one my medications that my doctor and I agreed on and then got into a strangers car. The person who hired me had no problem with my criminal record. It was her bosses so I was let go.

I’ve learned throughout my life that the majority of the time what’s on paper is too black and white. If someone put it on paper before you then they must be right.

We have many ways of identifying and labeling people. I have a DOC number. It is to identify me. Yesterday, I saw my probation officer. Pictures of my tattoos were taken. They are to identify me. I lost my job because I have DOC number and a probation officer. Because I have a record.

So I am judged and labeled.

I am bipolar. So I am labeled. I used to self-medicate to try to cope. So I am judged. I am labeled. 

When we judge, label, diminish and criticize each other, this becomes the fuel for shame and guilt to fester in our souls. A label says we are unworthy, flawed and unacceptable. Especially by those that are closest to us.

Sadly we live in a society driven by stereotyping, gossiping, labeling and blame….and it destroys. Words like ugly, stupid, addict, illegal, failure, ex-con, slut, fag and other dehumanizing labels are thrown around with no regard for how they damage.

In spite of the positives that I do and accomplish I will always have a felony. I will always be bipolar. And as hard as it is to accept, there’s grace in both. Grace forgets, and grace remembers.

Psalm 103 says, “…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” And with that in mind, I’ve chosen not to let labels define me. I move forward, and life has come along with me. I love. I serve. I work. I laugh. I play. I live. Grace has forgotten, and I am still loved. I’ve been given second chances.

At the same time, grace remembers. Later in the Bible, the apostle Paul reminds us not to forget the past, but to recall the old while living out the new. Recalling the old has given me the opportunity to serve others who stand today where I stood not long ago. My story resonates with friends, students and volunteers who’ve left in despair. Themes of shame, relational dysfunction, and hopelessness echo from my old life into theirs.

And then comes the story of my many second chances. Pursuing a healthy community; loving arms wrapping around me when my actions made me unlovable; facing down the labels that lie and embracing the identity that comes with grace.

Grace forgets, and I got and get second chances. But grace remembers, so I can share my story with others.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

Blog with Integrity\\ Auhor Lupe Picazo

Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome them