Coward - Elisabeth Klein
I’m about to walk into a situation where hard, dangerous words need to be said. 

I’ve written them out. I’ve rehearsed them. I am longing to have them fill the air between us. I am desperate to be heard, finally, and understood, hopefully. To have the other look at me and nod, truly getting it for the first time. Conceding. Even, in my wildest dreams, apologizing. 

The thing is, I already know I’m not going to say them. I’m not going to say what I feel deeply needs to be said. I’m going to allow awkward silences and insignificant small talk to reign, and I’m not going to do anything about it. I’m going to choose to not move this relationship forward in any way. 

When I was thinking this through earlier, I said to myself, out loud, “Coward.” 

I’ve always thought it’s the mature, the strong, who intentionally pursues mending conflicts and patching up wounds and reorienting misunderstandings. 

But I’m beginning to see, a few years into a chosen tongue-holding on my part, that sometimes it’s the quiet path that is the stronger one. 

I have some questions to ask myself. Do I want a bigger mess on my hands? Am I willing to risk saying the hard seemingly necessary things only to stir up more misunderstanding? Only to make the gap bigger? Only to realize that no matter how I paint the picture, we will never, ever see eye to eye? Which in turn, of course, will just make me feel worse, lonelier. 

Or. Instead. Am I willing to admit surrender? Closure will not be coming. Not every word needs to be said. Not everyone can understand me, nor will they even try to. I believe in my deepest place that I am right and the other just needs to hear me out one final time and then the skies would break apart and everything would be so much better and kinder between us. 

But I am choosing to see things clearly, in reality. And the reality is sometimes choosing not to burst forth with more words is the better thing to do. 

I’m not choosing cowardice; I’m choosing, for now, an unspoken treaty. I’ll lay my invisible weapons down. I’ll talk about the weather. And I’ll know it’s okay. 

I don’t need to desperately fight to be known and understood anymore by this particular other, for a few reasons. First, I’ve been living under the misguided assumption that I need this someone’s respect, support and love. When in reality, I simply want those things. There is a huge chasm between need and want, and now I can lay this down. 

Secondly, I’m known and understood by many others who are so dear to me that they make up the sweetest parts of my life. I don’t need to be known and understood by everyone else. I already have their respect, support and love. My heart is full. 

And finally, the Maker and Lover of my soul knows me completely, better than I know myself. And if I am truly precious and honored in his sight, and accepted just as I am, then I don’t need to convince anyone else of who I am and why I feel the way I feel. 

Love is letting me let go. 

If this post helped you, I would encourage you to check out “Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage”, found here.