I’ve been going through a very difficult time in my life. There have been many days I haven’t known how I would take another step. I am an empath by nature. I am also an artist, so my emotions run deeply.

If I am angry, I am a raging dark river, rushing over rocks and ravines. Fire courses through my veins and I become electric from head to toe.

When I am sad and my heart is breaking, I fall deep down into a dark pit. The night envelops me and I feel in that moment I will never return from the abyss into which I’ve fallen.  

When I am happy, I am ecstatic. I am full of joy that bubbles over and spills out upon the world around me. I become a social butterfly, flitting around from place to place, gracing the world with the sunshine in my soul. 

When I am filled with laughter, humor is all around me. Jokes flow naturally. I am quick witted and ready to take the “stand up” stage.

When I love, I love with every fiber of my being. I will give of my time and soul. I will share every ounce of energy I possess. I hold no record of wrongs and I overlook offenses that others may not. I give all and love without condition.

Hate however, has been previously unfamiliar to me. The very thought of it frightens me and leaves my bones hollow. I could never fathom such an intense feeling toward our fellow man, and I suppose some hate I will never understand. However, since they took my boys I have been filled with a hatred so intense, I could watch those who have wronged my family drown and walk away without a second glance. In fact I would not bat an eye. 

This bothers me because I’ve always had a heart so full of love. Not everyone knows, but those who know me on a personal level do. My husband used to laugh because I would make him stop to move a turtle out of the road. My older cousins would smash worms when I was just a tiny girl so they could watch me cry.

I told God long ago I would love those no one else did..the murderers, sex offenders, death row inmates and on the list goes. Truth is, I have loved those people; over and over. Some of them it has changed and some only saw my heart as a stomping ground. 

A man once cussed me in the most horrible manner. He told me that Christ was not for him and that I would burn like Christ did. I puzzled over this. I spoke to a friend about it. I said to him, “Christ didn’t burn.” 

“Oh, but he did.” I asked what he meant and he explained. He said Christ burned because he carried the sin of the whole world. He burned within. Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I know what it’s like to see the deepest darkest secrets of man and to love anyway. I know what it’s like to watch the world destroy itself and for man to cause his own brother to suffer without reason. My heart aches with the knowledge of what I see daily.

Yet, I wonder how Christ kept quiet when he saw the corruption and greed? I wonder how he held the pain of seeing the innocent suffer? I wonder how he looked into the eyes of Judas knowing he sold him out for a handful of silver? Yet even with His last breath, he prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

I am silenced by his love, and as the hate in me towards those who have wronged me grows, I only pray I can forgive as Christ did. 

I often think, if only they had come to me with a simple “I’m sorry.” If they had only told me the truth and asked me for forgiveness…then I believe could find that deep down, soul shaking love. But sadly it seems some never will, and maybe that’s because they aren’t sorry at all. 

I have never experienced such a time of testing, and I only pray God will show me the way, because hate is not a part of me I care to nurture. Yet still, it remains and for that…. I am sorry.

Written by: Tiffany Jackson

Photography by: Will Percious

Photograph edited by: Tiffany Jackson