This morning I've dedicated some time to revisiting one of the more painful experiences of my life. Yay!
Revisiting is an interesting word for me to use. Dwelling in, or sitting with, or reliving would be apt terms as well.
One immediate hurdle I have is to even give these past experiences the time of day. "Don't be such a wimp," I hear within. Or, "It wasn't such a big deal, get over it." Or "other people have it much worse."
But regardless of the pull of inner-Bart's voice (or is it someone else's voice?), I deeply hold the belief that in order to begin to be a whole, functioning, helpful and healthy part of this world it requires that I revisit the pain. I see only one future destination if I do not: a grumpy, embittered, whiny old man. Or, at the very least, a man that holds wounds within that can and will cause harm to others and himself.
Ignoring pain is never a wise choice physically, so why should I do so emotionally?
So I opened my journal and began to process. I do so with an awareness that this is something God is asking me to do. His presence seems hovering over this whole time.
I'm surprised at the things I can remember. The smells. The exact place I was sitting. I remember the morning before. I remember my insides boiling. I remember my hands shaking. I can feel my eyes darting around, trying to grab hold of anything that could anchor my heart. I remember how I felt. Betrayed. Abandoned. Like an animal caged and trapped. I felt my personhood slipping away. I felt dehumanized. I was bewildered and lost. How could this be happening?!
I sit there, in process, for a while. I sit there now with a heavy heart as I write.
And yet. Something is different this time. I've invited someone else along into the past.
He is there. He takes my hand as the betrayal sets in my heart. I notice that his hands shake along with mine, he is going through the exact thing I am. He enters the cage and is animalized along with me. He sets aside his humanity to be present. And there, in the cage, he weeps with me. His eyes glistening and knowing the depths of the hurt. He doesn't wipe the tears away, but just weeps with me. He is present. He wishes this were not my story, nor his.
And there, in the cage together, I know once again that this man is my best friend and the love of my life.
And maybe, just maybe, my best friend can heal these wounds and bring healing to my heart.
"No one can ever go so low that God in Jesus has not gone lower. What other faith has at its heart a writhing body, torn flesh, shameful desertion and disgrace, anguished desolation, and a darkness that can be felt? God liberates not by removing suffering from us, but by sharing it with us. Jesus is 'God-who-suffers-with-us.'" -- Os Guiness, philosopher, survivor of the Henan famine in China, 1943