When Words are Not Enough

The past several months have been painful ones for me. Although I am able to put on a happy face and answer "I'm well, and you?" when approached in public, it is harder for me to put on the same facade when I write. Writing has always been the place where I process my life, with all the gritty details.

Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where words can't express how we are feeling. Where, in fact, words would be a hindrance. When the depth of emotion in the situation, the sorrow, joy, fear, shock, love, excitement... is beyond being able to be expressed with simple words.

This summer has been filled with those moments. I have witnessed and/or experienced emotions that are difficult impossible to put into words and so I have stayed silent. I have cried tears for myself, for people I know well, and for virtual strangers. All of these instances have been a catalyst for me to really examine my own life history.

I once heard someone on a radio program say that, as a Christian, we should never be heard saying "life is hard" because God is with us and therefore, nothing should be hard. I think that's a load of hooey. (Apparently he had never read the book of Job.) Christian or not, life is filled with highs and lows.

Having faith does not make us exempt from pain just as admitting our struggles does not mean we lack faith.

This summer, I have focused on trying to heal some of the painful spots in my heart that I have accumulated over my thirty-nine and a half years. I have spent hours in the night talking with God. I have stood outside drinking in the sweet perfume of twilight and sat with the dog enjoying the stillness of morning. I've stood, eyes closed, while I relished the feeling of a cool breeze on my face and the sounds of my children playing. I have allowed myself to cry the tears that I have kept bottled up for far too long. To grieve fully all of those people, dreams, and relationships that I've lost through the years. I've worked to make peace with those past hurts from people who will never offer an apology, and to forgive myself (my own worst critic) for the mistakes of my past.

I had a wonderful childhood and have a good life. Because of that, I think sometimes it's hard for me to admit that I've ever struggled. Almost as if I'm being ungrateful for what I have, by grieving what I have lost, where I have stumbled.

We don't like pain, so we try to put it behind us as quickly as possible. "Whew, we made it through! Now quick, close that chapter of life and move on to happier times and pretend that it didn't happen."  Failing to finish processing what we have gone through (debriefing, if you will) is generally avoided. Yet, the tough times in our lives are as much a part of who we are as the good times. In fact, I would argue that they have made us who we are today.

I am not one to encourage having a victim mentality, or wallowing in self pity. Tough stuff happens and it changes us.

How we respond is what makes the difference in the end.

Because, even in our brokenness, I believe it's possible to fly.

Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. 
The Lord builds up Jerusalem; 
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. 
He heals the brokenhearted 
And binds up their wounds. 
~Psalm 147:1-3
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