**The first I’ve shared (or even re-read myself) of my writing challenge, from day one on 10/19/13.
To re-write a story or revisit it with new eyes. To look back on it with enlightened perspective and understand just a little bit what it might have all been about. More than the hurts and traumas. More than the heartaches and loss. A journey toward wholeness, toward a heart sculpted by suffering into an engine for compassion. Eyes opened to goodness and the tenderness of God. Realizing that sometimes what hurts on the front end produces fruit on the latter end.
Our stories are what make us who we are. We have a choice to respond to our experiences–to tear down walls that keep us from real love or plunge deeper in the mire with self-destructive behaviors that take over when we give in to the overwhelming grief. Can we possibly walk through suffering without being stuck in it, endlessly. Like swimming. We are wet all over with life’s troubles, up to our necks in the worries. We can be there, paralyzed still, slipping beneath the surface, or move ourselves toward breath, life, maybe even finding the faith to step up out of the depths and walk across the water with Jesus, who calls us to something much more than we realize. The life He gives is not reserved for the later-on, the afterlife. The joy and peace He offers are for now, right in the middle of our troubled hearts and complicated lives, if we would only take hold of it…to go to Him.
There was a time I could spend hours upon days upon years thinking about how I would re-write my story. Piles of hardships and heartaches that really seemed unnecessary and unkind at the time. If I were the author, I would have written it differently. When we are in a season of discomfort, the only relief we can imagine is to get rid of what it is that makes us uncomfortable. Zip it up and send it away. Bury it deep so we don’t have to stare our heartaches in the face. Medicate the hurt so we feel numb to it and can maybe, just maybe forget it is there. But none of those things really bring the satisfaction or relief we’re hoping for, because there is no suffering and forgetting. Even if we try, the scenery changes, and the characters might as well, but we end up repeating the same story of heartache and loss again and again with a totally new backdrop. Cycles of behaviors that we think help us cope, actually keep us captive in the dark place with tentacles around us, keeping us captive to the prison of sorrow.
We bend, and bend, and then snap in two pieces, or crack into thousands more when the very things we built our whole lives or self-worth around fail to stand in the storm. Families, relationships, friendships, bonds of trust that seem irreparably broken by selfishness, sin, and the pressure to preserve oneself by any means necessary, often leading to hurting ourselves and others in the process.
A healing journey is no walk in the park. As any person with a significant bodily injury what it takes to get through physical therapy to regain some type of normal motion again. It doesn’t happen in days or weeks. Or sometimes even years. And often, some of what was originally there is lost forever. Our wounds mark us. But scars are, or can be, more than reminders of our pain. They can be markers of our victories as well. Reminding us of what we have overcome. Teaching us that we can survive through great hardship. Forming us into thoughtful, compassionate individuals because we know intimately how hard it is to travel the low and broken road.