Love Series Day#7: Honor Redefined.

By Monica C. Voskamp
                                                                                                                                                                   I’m looking at something a little beyond me: honor.  I have mixed feelings: I’m confused and conflicted. I’m like this princess. I’m confused even though I’m dressed in beautiful colors and crowned with gold. I should feel honored, but inside I churn with confusion.
                                                                                                                                                                   I’m confused because what I’ve been told is honor doesn’t match the voices I’ve heard. It doesn’t feel right. Something is off.  I’m wishing I could be anywhere but here, in this place of deception.
Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash
   I’m posing in a position of honor, but its deceived me, its not what it’s cracked up to be. This is what I’m finding in the religion of Christianity. I don’t feel honored, but I’m told I am. You see, the moment I take off this crown, these golden clothes, that’s the moment I’m dethroned. I lose my honor. This compares to the moment I don’t follow the protocol of a Christian, that’s when I lose worth, my honor in the other church goer’s eyes. (I’m being wide brushed here, not ALL Christians are like this…but this has been my overall experience.) It conflicts me. With dethroning of who am I, how am I anything special? What does love even mean?

Love isn’t hinged on status, appearance or behavior. The honor of love doesn’t hold back because of what a person is or is not. Love embraces that person and ALWAYS honors them in every state. Always.

Honor is suppose to be a standard of integrity, truth, respect, fairness, dignity. It’s a place of great esteem, a position that is privileged, its a gift someone else gives you, or you gift yourself with.
                                                                                                                                                             Honor does not strip one of respect.  Yet I’ve experienced that by people who say they know love.  Honor holds to a standard of purity, and remains true to its being. Again, I’ve experienced deception and hypocrisy, and still I’ve been told it’s a place of love. Truth is, I’ve been lied to about love. Honor is integral to love: love cannot be without honor.

    I’m struggling to decode how love honors.I’m frustrated. What IS honor?

What does it even have to do with love? I’m just reading facts in dictionaries that talk about honor but it doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe because I don’t really know the true definition of honor. I feel disconnected from this great thing called honor. I don’t feel honored or honorable. Is that it? I just don’t know honor, or recognize the truth of it.  How the heck can I figure out a vital component to love if I don’t even know what it (honor) is?
                                                                                                                                                                   I think of times I’ve felt dishonored. Shamed. Loss of respect. I felt shamed when I was having sex outside of marriage. And loss of respect. Definitely. I felt I was less then.  Before, I thought I was someone good, someone looked up to and admired…and in a short time, by one action, that all disappeared. I felt very alone. Certain people came down hard on me because I was behaving a certain way. What kind of love is this?

   This honor and dishonoring thing shakes my identity.

When someone messes up bad, looks weird, they get dishonor, looked down on. When someone achieves great things, they get honor, recognition, applauded, and admired. That’s just how it rolls in life.  Apparently, love does not dishonor others though. Is this for real? Its suppose to be: ‘..Love does not dishonor others..’ (1 Corinthians 13)

I think what love is saying is this: Love doesn’t do that dishonor thing at all. It doesn’t hand out shame. It doesn’t give disrespect. Love doesn’t make one feel insignificant. It doesn’t esteem disdain on people. It only honors. Dishonoring is not part of love’s person.

My understanding of love holds both dishonor and honor in it. This is my conflict, I’ve been lied to and believed a lie about love. But even outside the religious circle,  I’ve experienced dishonor…when I’ve been mentally ill.  I experienced a great deal of dishonor, humiliation in that state. I didn’t feel like a equal human. I was (treated) way less than. That’s a blow to the core of my lovableness, my worth.

How is it sometimes I can receive honor, and other times dishonor? Love doesn’t contradict itself. So how are love and honor synonymous?

I remember being in the midst of trauma and mental illness. I didn’t understand what I was going through. I was scared, alone and reaching out to an unseen world that would somehow make things right. But God, that world didn’t exist. The world that did exist couldn’t understand my behavior, for the most part.
                                                                                                                                                                         I do remember one paramedic and one police officer that gave me dignity in that broken, delusional state. Who would’ve known they’d be my ‘church.’ To the rest of the world, my behavior was bizarre. But a cop saw deeper than my exterior.
I hadn’t eaten for days. My lips were peeling I was so dehydrated. My clothes were messy, my hair disheveled. I hadn’t been sleeping, probably hadn’t showered. In short, I looked like a homeless person.
                                                                                                                                                                          Back to the policeman…We had been simply talking face to face. Then suddenly I recoiled from him and cringed into a fetal position,  fell down into the bumper of my car. I was just down there cringing and curled up tight.  I heard the cop radio 911 to come for a person experiencing trauma.
                                                                                                                                                              The policeman gave me space. He talked gently and continued to assure me till I calmed  and got out of that fetal position.
                                                                                                                                                                       I was terrified of men at that time… I have a bad rap with men being liars, abusers, manipulators, and saw them as scary controlling beings. This has been my understanding of men.  Trauma had taken over any common sense at that time.  I suddenly reacted like he was all the bad men. Thankfully, he contradicted what I knew of the unholy grail of men.
                                                                                                                                                                                   The police officer conveyed respect, didn’t intrude my space and gave me time. He didn’t force his way into the situation. That is HUGE. My personal space has been violated by men. Things have been forced on me. This man didn’t do either.  (Good cop 🙂 ) He stood at a distance and stayed an amazing calm. I don’t know what he all said, but he talked me out of that fetal position. I’m still amazed.
                                                                                                                                                                        911 was called off, and I let the officer come close and was able to interact with him again. It was the most bizarre thing for me to experience, one minute I was talking to that police man and the next I was cowering and clutching onto my car for protection from him.  Trauma suddenly took over; it was an awful experience. Trauma is a brutal reality people face and deal with.

   That cop respected me right where I was and talked to me with dignity. He honored me.

                                                                                                                                                               Later, the policeman left me with his card and invited me to call if I ever needed him. Unfortunately I lost his card, but I’m forever grateful to him…and wish I could thank him.
                                                                                                                                                                  My experiencing love’s honor didn’t stop there. I wish I hadn’t learned it this next way, but I don’t know what other way you learn the honoring love other than through lowly, humiliating positions.
                                                                                                                                                                     A few days later, I was found unconscious with no ID. Miraculously, a nurse found me laying on the floor of an empty building. Without a pulse.  I remember in my subconscious hearing her tell 911 I had no pulse. I heard the panic in her voice and I could feel fingers probing into my neck. Inside me freaked out, and then she found a weak pulse. Whoever that nurse was, I may never know, but I’m glad she found me.
I don’t understand what all happened still. I just know some of the paramedics (after trying to help me) actually laughed at my behavior. At the time, I was terrified of them and wouldn’t let them come close to touch me. My trauma reactions had escalated. I could hear the anxiety of the paramedics at first when they didn’t know what to do. I screamed at them if they tried to touch me and kept banging on head on the cement. In my traumatic mess, I thought I could pound my head, myself, into another world and all the wrongs would be made right….:(  I’m sorry to my head. And I’m sad those first responders didn’t know what to do…except one.
                                                                                                                                                             Someone spoke to me like I was human. He told me, ‘You need to stop banging your head on the floor, you got to stop doing that. You’re hurting yourself. Please (his eyes imploring me) please, don’t do that anymore.’  He broke into my trauma, he entered into my chaotic world and brought the light of love. I calmed and locked eyes with him.
                                                                                                                                                                   Up till that moment I refused the help of the paramedics.  I was scared as hell about those people trying to grab me (now I know they were just trying to get me to stop banging my head.)  I didn’t want them to “rescue” me and keep me in this awful world that has hurt me. But when the young man of a paramedic connected with me like a human, I suddenly relaxed…I felt the touch of humanity meeting with humanity. A shaft of love shone into my darkness. He gifted me.
Photo by Kushagra Kevat on Unsplash
He was so young, maybe 27, yet he was the one that gave me honor. I latched onto him and upon my insistence, he accompanied me in the ambulance to the hospital even though it wasn’t his vehicle. He assured me. So much. It’s hard not to cry thinking of him and how he interacted with me.
                                                                                                                                                                         I remember him giving me a last look before being wheeled away. The paramedic gave me a look of compassion. I saw the agony of his helplessness intermingled with care.  I can’t forget that. It’s still imprinted in my mind. It was a beautiful spot in a lot of ugly in that time of my life.
                                                                                                                                                                         I wish I could tell both the police officer, paramedic, thank you. Thank you for connecting with me, for caring even when I was in an undesirable state.

Honor doesn’t see the broken as broken. Honor doesn’t disdain the unlovable, the rebels, the mentally ill, and the ones this world can’t understand. Honor sees others as valuable regardless of the situation. Love doesn’t treat them according to their state. Love knows them always in a position of dignity.  This is honor redefined.

                                                                                                                                                                   This type of honor bypasses human logic. The policeman and that young paramedic did not see me crazy or ill. They recognized my state yes, but they didn’t treat me accordingly. They extended the best thing I’ve ever received: honor.

Honor isn’t reserved for special occasions. The honor of love is found in every day.

                                                                                                                                                                    Love realizes honor isn’t limited to events or prestige.  It’s not the big show of recognition in an elaborate award ceremonies.  Love just does honor.
                                                                                                                                                                              Honor is a hidden aspect of love. It’s something I didn’t realize, but it is integral to love. Without honor, love cannot be.  Look for the areas in your life where you have been shown respect and dignity REGARDLESS of your situation, capabilities and behavior. This is where you have met love. ❤ This is honor redefined.

Love isn’t limited to a certain day, certain situations, certain behaviors or certain people. True honor is not partial, it’s universal to every human being.

                                                                                                                                                                          You can find honor in the back of a cab, in the slummy part of the city, in the coffee shop, in the mental institution, in the traffic lines…love is the undercurrent power sourcing through this planet. It is found in the mundane and profound. Love is the steady heartbeat in our world.
                                                                                                                                                                      Love isn’t always defined by words. I’m finding love is worked out in my life, and then I can place a word on it. Right now, I have some words to describe love ONLY because of what I’ve experienced. And this is what I’ve experienced: love does not dishonor others.
                                                                                                                                                                   At the lowest, most humiliating part of my life, a policeman and a paramedic showed me love honors others. They honored me. I have an incredible heart of thanks and respect to those men. You honored me when a whole lot of the rest of this world didn’t know how to react to my trauma induced crazed state. Thank you for showing me love, for showing me how love does not dishonor others. My heart thanks you. ❤

You don’t need a church book to teach you about love. Love exists beyond the book, beyond the church and in the places you would least expect it.  Love honors others.

Always believe. Always hope. Know love always is. ❤

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