This is another look into who I am and where I am at as part of the Story 101 summer session.
“The Harmony of Silence” ~ Wassily Kandinsky~
Silent, still air.
The hum of my breath. In and out.
A quickening in my gut comes when I realize that I am alone. My first inclination is to pick up my phone and see what is going on out there in the internets. After I have completed my social media tour I wait five minutes and go back again because we all know so MUCH can change in five minutes.
Being alone scares me. The silence scares me. More often than not I have a movie or a show on my laptop in the background, am on my phone and have my journal next to me.
The silence scares me. The breathing scares me. What am I reaching towards and what am I releasing? Fear, pain, anxiety. What I am leaving behind, what I am searching for.
This last year left me wrecked. When I was in Africa last June I saw a God I never knew existed. A God that existed in ALL nations, in ALL tongues and a God that I could worship even when I did not understand the language I was worshipping in. The God I knew before I got there was blown out of the box that I had Him in. Funny thing is, I did not realize I had Him in a box.
I thought my life was going great. I was a counselor in a detox, “I had a plan for my life” I paid my perfect, outside lip service to God and called it good. On the surface it was good. Internally it was a wrecking ball waiting to destroy every fiber of my being. Destroy it did. I came back from Africa and I lost my job, my health started to decline rapidly, my relationship with Abigail took 10 steps backwards and in the midst of all of that I made the choice to walk away from my unhealthy family. It was one thing after another, yet God was there in it all. Providing financially in ways that I still struggle to believe were real. Yet the waves of pain, loss and health failures kept crashing against my weary soul to the point where I could not see where He was.
Well meaning friends (at least I saw them then as well meaning) who saw the lip service paying Bethany would tell me that “God was going to use this for something HUGE” “That He was so faithful, that He was going to continue providing in such huge ways”
I was able to agree, to nod my head, to say those cynical, whitewashed tomb expressions back. To make them believe that I did indeed believe that those things were true.
On the inside however my soul was SCREAMING. It was shattered. “How do you KNOW those things are true?” “Have you had a direct conversation with God about MY LIFE” These were the women who would tell me that they didn’t think that I heard from God about certain choices that I was making. Ummmm really. I can’t even go there right now.
I had lost all perspective. I ached. I hurt. My soul was dry, bare and empty. I wanted to believe that was everyone was saying was true. I told them I believed them but I didn’t. I read my one year bible and tried to grasp onto what it was saying but it didn’t go anywhere.
In the midst of my spiritual upheaval I found out that I was indeed going to have brain surgery in order to fix/heal the Chiari. I was both devastated and elated at the same time. After M.O.N.T.H.S. of no one listening to how much pain I was in, even though they knew my diagnoses and knew the only option was surgery. After having my first surgery cancelled because the surgery was an inept, narcissistic, judgment making asshole. After having to let go of home school because I was bedridden and on opiates a good majority of the time it seemed as though the light was breaking through the darkness and hope was rising.
Hope did indeed rise. Out of the ashes. Out of realizing that my first intended surgery was cancelled for a reason and I was moved to a different hospital and surgeon so that God could show me that His love comes in different forms.
He showed me His love through the CNA named Cynthia who, as a single mom that immigrated from West Africa who worked nights so she could take care of her kids during the day and go to nursing school. On the third day after surgery when I could finally get out of bed and wanted to shower, she helped me into the bathroom, got my clothes off and got me on the shower chair. There I was, butt naked, stoned out on so many different pain killers and muscle relaxers and all of a sudden I realized I was not going to be able to shower myself. I looked at her and said “Cynthia, I can’t do it”
So she showered me. Washed my hair, my feet, my body, my arm pits. She looked at me and laughed and with her sweet African accent said “You gonna have to do that part” pointing to my vagina.
That was the beginning of the road home. To the breathing, to the reaching, to the releasing. To this God I never knew existed. To seeing a God that shows His love in so many different ways.
That was the beginning of opening my heart fully to this idea of healing. Not being fixed, or looking to a bible study or a book or a mentor to take it away. But healing. Allowing myself to go to that place that hurts so bad sometimes it takes away my breath.
Therein lies the breathing in ~ reaching. The breathing out ~ releasing.
Sitting in my therapist’s office yesterday this very topic of solitude came up. Of why I am so afraid of being alone, being quiet, being still. Our plan was to finish an EMDR session we had started but as we spoke about fear of that it seemed to tie in with the solitude.
The idea of practicing solitude. Starting out with two minutes. Turning my phone completely OFF 🙂 breathing in and reaching towards more of this God, this Jesus and this Holy Spirit that I want more of. That my heart is craving, aching for. When I breath out I can release that fear of what being alone means……..
Memories. Waves of pain crashing against a pained, weary soul. Shame. Scars. Literal and metaphorical. Aches of what new boundaries mean. That those boundaries mean loss of things I never had. Breath stealing hurt. Deeply sown trauma that I fear if people were to actually know about they would thrown stones at me like the Pharisees did to the adulteress.
The longer I sit. Breathing in, breathing out. I remember the woman who grabbed the hem of His robe. How He turned. He asked who touched Him even though He already knew it was her. He made sure that she knew He noticed her, that the crowed noticed her.
He saw her.
He sees me.
He sees YOU.
Things change. They fall apart. My brain gets opened up. In more than one way I suppose. A box gets blown open. A heart gets shattered. Platitudes are spoken. From others and my myself. He always knew. Knew that I would be on my knees, on the kitchen floor in a sobbing heap, screaming “FUCK, I don’t understand anymore”
He did not leave.
He knew I would get here.
With new eyes.
Words of pain, hope, beauty.
Ready to heal. To declare that I see Him as I never saw Him. That I see Him now with my own eyes and not the eyes of who others were trying to tell me He was.
Now I know Him for Him.
And I love Him.
Breath in ~ reach
Breath out ~ release
July 10, 2013 at 12:29 pm
this. is. amazing.
your soul screams so much paint and art and glory. so blessed to know you. ❤
July 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm
Really touched by your words today. Weeping might be a better word. Identifying with so much of your journey. It mirrors my own in several ways. (Got my own Africa story, a raw, emotional hospital story, faith crises, etc.)
Your points on worship, on being noticed by Him, on learning not to fear the solitude, of renewal and belovedness. I’m just floored by your wisdom. This has been so healing and I hope you continue your brilliant writing forever! Hope out of the ashes. Bless!
July 10, 2013 at 1:39 pm
I have to tell you both how much these comments mean to my heart. I was just telling a friend of mine this morning to come here and check out my newer stuff because I was feeling really discouraged. That was one of the least raw but yet most from my soul posts I have written. Your comments moved me and touched my soul.
July 11, 2013 at 2:55 am
Completely moved by this Bethany. Your words about God seeing us stirred something in me, after my own year of “God what the hell are you DOING here?” Thank you for this.