Glimmers

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Hard happens in every life. Most bounce back, whether by health or denial. For me, this season has robbed me of resilience.

Wounds have run deep ruts I have not had the strength or endurance to climb. I have screamed and yelled and begged for rescue.

But I didn’t really know what I was asking.

My picture of rescue was to be lifted out of the valleys. I wanted the pain to go away. Healing would mean the fear that grabs me so tightly would strangle no more, and the explosion of sorrow in my heart would be snuffed. I wanted to be fixed.

In the past days, I have seen the glimmers of healing. Hope flashing in the pit, as if a gem catching the sun.

I saw it, and it caught me. It’s lightness stayed with me. And so did the pain.

I see this to be true: healing does not come in the disappearance of pain but in the learning of how to sit with it.

Healing does not soften the blow of the offenses that run so deep. To lessen the pain would be to dismiss its impact. Part of my healing has been to name those places and agree even with myself that they matter. No, healing does not remove the pain.

My hope glimmered in the place where I sat with my pain and didn’t feel the choking of fear.

At the depths of the pit that consumed me, I fully believed my pain would kill. I felt as if my body were shutting down. Pain was overwhelming me to a point of death, sucking the very air out of my lungs.

To some that sounds dramatic and extreme hyperbole. But to those who have walked through it, it is real. Depression brings despair even to body and bones and breath.

After months of my hope-speaking counselor believing resilience for me, speaking it over me despite my adamant refusal of its existence, I am beginning to believe it for myself.

I’m ok. Hard things have happened and much of the hard still bears its mark, but I’m ok. The paralyzing fear is at bay. I see the light at the top of the pit, and it’s getting closer. Brighter. One day I might even stand atop it.

Hope is precious. Today it is glimmering.

 

 

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The Trauma of Yesterday

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Immediately I feel nauseous.

It washes over me like a wave. It fills my belly and begins to squeeze my chest. My heart is racing. Adrenaline flows through my limbs. They begin to tingle. My head tingles. My eyes struggle to focus, and I’m so light-headed I dare not move.

My breathing becomes fast and shallow. I want to close my eyes. I do.

The waves continue to come. Nausea, adrenaline, pounding. My heart literally feels like it’s going to beat out of my chest. I want to throw up.

“Open your eyes,” I remember my hope-speaking counselor say. “Come back.”

He is not here to coach me. I have to fight my own way through. It takes all my will to open my eyes and focus on the cup in front of me.

Stay here. Feel the chair beneath me. The cup is full of pens. They are real. I am here. I am not there. I make myself feel the air on my skin. The hair falling on the back of my neck. My eyes begin to focus. I remember to slow my breathing, and I count.

Inhale. Exhale.1.

Inhale. Exhale. 2. . 3. . 4. . 5. .

Stay here.

It happens in an instant. Trauma revisits me, and I’m sucked into my body’s God-given preservation system. It’s meant to protect me, but it doesn’t discern I’m not in danger right now. Trauma lives in the past.

My body is the one the keeps bringing it to the now.

Today is was a coffee shop. The thought of going to a coffee shop where my world was turned upside down years ago. It was the place where my picture of reality tumbled down like a domino train. Where what I thought was, wasn’t. The explosion of that place, the betrayal, I feel them as if they are happening right now.

My body fights as if they are now.

I hate it. I hate that my body is preparing to flee what no longer endangers me. It holds me captive to a place I want to have no power over me.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. Let me grieve the pain of that place without the panic of today. Free my body of it’s fight. Bring sorrow, but please speak relief over the terror that haunts me.

To Raise My Hands

Moses’ arms were burning. They had been up for hours. The staff of God was raised overhead, the weight of it now unbearable. The fire began in his wrists, burned down his forearms and raged in his shoulders. He willed them not to quiver, not to break. His will was running out.

The Israelites’ fate against the Amalekites depended on him. As fatigue overtook him, and he lowered his arms out of exhaustion, the Israelites wavered. The Amalekites began to win. He pushed the staff back up and Israel regained their footing. They took back the lead. Moses had to keep the staff raised for the Israelites to be victorious. It took all of his concentration to keep the pain from winning. There was no way he was going to make it.

And then his concentration was interrupted. He felt the hands of Aaron and Hur steady his shaking arms. They saw his pain. They saw his need. They would stand with him.

They found a rock for Moses to sit on, and as he sat, they lifted his arms. They kept them steady until sunset, when Joshua overcame the Amalekites with the sword. They did it.

This is one of my very favorite pictures in Scripture of the power, the shear need of community. Moses could not do it. He couldn’t. He tried, and he willed, and he struggled. So his friends literally held his arms up. It’s beautiful.

Can I confess something? In my deepest of places, I wish I didn’t need people. Over and over again, that need brings pain. Disappointment. Rejection. Right now I desperately need my arms to be lifted for me.

I am left struggling.

There are those who pass through. A conversation here, a prayer there. People know my story. But very, very few are staying with me until sunset. I catch my breath for a few, but then I’m back at it again on my own. Trying to hold up the weight of the staff that will save.

Community feels like the key to the puzzle I will search for and never own. I initiate, I pursue, and in need, I am still alone. 

At the end of the day, I can not make community happen. I can ask, I can share, but I can’t force it into existence. If we were created to live in community, and community is where healing happens, why is it so stinkin’ hard to experience?

If I am honest, and I’m pushing myself to be painfully so in this place, as much as I want to be able to go this alone, I cannot. I have been trying. But my arms are so weary. I want to say that isn’t so, but it is. Day after day, I need a few someones to hear my anxiety and not grow tired of praying for it. I need someone who can speak hope when my thoughts turn so dark they scare me. I need someone who will call me and say, “Are you out of bed today? Get dressed. Let’s face the exhaustion together.”

I need a community to raise my hands.

There is a voice lurking, saying I am too much. It says I’m doing it wrong. My perseverance runs so very thin. My hope-speaking counselor curses at that place for me. I will learn to curse at it too.

My husband speaks a different hope. He said I should ask God for it. Ask God for the community I need. Asking bares the risk of disappointment. But I will.

In my brokenness and exhaustion, I will ask.