I have continued to wake up at times recently believing I am somewhere I am not. While I do not wish to open up about the details, l have been left behind and dumped in alleys and dumpsters. For many years, my self-worth and the belief about my value was akin to rotten, putrid dumpsters and muddy alleys overgrown with weeds. There was a time when my life reflected as much, especially during the phases I would succumb to heavy self-medication.
I have been wandering around for days feeling as if I am wrestling with things I cannot see, touch, or even feel. It is not depression, because I have spent much of my life there and know how that plays out. It is not quite anxiety, because I have lived under that blanket of fear for decades and I was comfortable with that blanket without even knowing it. I am not curled up in the bathroom floor sucking on a tissue box and twisting a towel in a state of despair. I have been asking myself and God what the heck is going on, because this feels unfamiliar and strange.
God has gotten quiet these days and I decided I wanted to try to be still. Yet, the more still I have been trying to be, the more raging something on the inside started to feel.
After the kids were put to bed, my husband and I were picking up toys and chattering about our days. Something overcame me and I couldn’t even stand anymore. I ended up on the floor, clutching some toys, and weeping in a way I have never wept. I heard the sound of a wild animal, not realizing it was me. At first, I thought everything that God had been doing within me was coming undone and I had such a sense of bewilderment in the midst of those tears. But, something felt different. Something felt clean.
When that emotional tidal wave started to calm, my husband just held me quietly in his arms for a while. There are times when my husband blows my mind with his insights and words of wisdom; this was one of those times. He started a discussion on grief and dying to the self as he pointed out, “You have never grieved over that little girl in the alley.”
He is right. I have been caught up under the darkness and suffocation of trauma for much of my life. The need to run away from anything and everything has chased me around for so long, I never got still and quiet enough to allow God to walk me through the kind of grief my soul has needed to experience. There was a time when I would turn to anything but God in order to deal with the heavy baggage. I have been obsessive-compulsive, I have withdrawn, my mouth has been sealed, my eyes were blinded, I have been paralyzed with fear, I have had control issues, I have had phases of heavy self-medication, and I built a giant wall around me to keep out the pain.
I did not realize what a prisoner behind that wall I became; I couldn’t even reach God from that place, let alone anyone else. My wall has crumbled and collapsed. It is time to step over the ruins of my prison and into something new.
Right now I am stuck on some delicate tree branches, trying to be still and take deep breaths. Instead of continuing to identify myself as a rotten dumpster or a muddy alley, I am going to let God be quiet and hold my hand. I keep finding myself sobbing out of the blue, but it feels clean. When someone is grieving all they really want is comfort from the grief. All someone really needs to wade through grief is a warm hand to hold and, more often than not, silence. Even if there is weeping and the sound of wild animals filling the room, being still and experiencing a quietness can be cleansing.