Missing the Defenses

January 8, 2009

With the exception of losing my mom, I have probably never allowed myself to feel pain like this before. Maybe that devastating experience isn’t even an exception. It’s hard to compare the extent to which your heart is crushed by pain. And, really, the loss of my mom is an element of the pain that I am presently feeling. So, again, comparison is irrelevant here.

I had all of these powerful defenses that kept me from feeling pain in my life. And I executed them with great proficiency.

Shutting down my emotions used to be my first defense. I’ve blogged quite a bit about this, so I won’t develop it here. In any case, that is no longer an option. The cost is too high. Life is too valuable.

So… emotional deadness and zombie-esque living… that’s out.

My second defense was fantasy. I have blogged once about this. And I still lack language to clearly describe the folly of fantasy without going into great detail about personal things that should not be divulged in a very public blog. So, again… I will not really develop that here.

In short, I would escape to a world in my head. Well, to lots of worlds in my head. I would escape to other realities. I would escape to my imagined futures… futures that somehow turned around every presently negative thing in my life. All to save me from feeling the pain in my life… the real and present pain.

Last spring, fantasy and I made our final plunge into destruction. Sadly, my eyes were being opened to the wretchedness of fantasy… but I was simultaneously compromising in that area, very much leaning on fantasy. I justified it by the fact that it wasn’t as bad as what fantasy USED to be in my life. Oh, relativism. So, in the midst of my eyes being opened to sin, I was still developing my fantasy and moving in the direction of my fatal decision…

So we arrive at spring 2008: I chose fantasy in a serious way. In the process, I destroyed something beautiful and hurt someone I love.

Sin is often more costly than we know.

My shattered and repentant heart is finally done with fantasy. Which doesn’t mean I am not still fighting it, that it isn’t a temptation and very real struggle. But it is like the fight to stop shutting down my heart these last few years. I am absolutely determined. There’s no turning back here. And I trust God’s grace to help me actually overcome.

So, escaping to fantasy… that’s out.

I am running out of defenses here. Because I have said “yes” to the Lord and have chosen to forsake those other defenses.

And it hurts. It just hurts. Like… I can’t even describe it. It hurts. My recent status update on facebook may give some weak indication of the pain that I am feeling:

Christine is pretty sure that bloody pulp is her heart. It’s a little hard to tell right now.

I was confused by why I was feeling so much pain. One broken relationship. (And not even the broken relationship with the person I was dating for almost 6 months… the second time around.) It just didn’t make sense. How could this be so much more painful than all those other legitimately painful situations in my life?

And then it hit me this morning. I’ve been letting go of my defenses. Perhaps this hurts more than everything else because I am actually finally feeling the pain that is there.

I know that all of this is unto something greater. I know that I will come up leaning. I know that it is all leading me deeper into love. I know that God is with me and that He will carry me through this. He has gone to great lengths to tell me that.

If I didn’t know that, it seems like I would have to be dead right now. Without His presence and His grace… and the promise of the continuation of those things… I don’t see how I could possibly still be alive.

As much as it hurts, I cannot go back to the defenses. There’s something beautiful at the end of this. I’m sure of it. There has to be. All I know is that it really sucks right now… but it’s gonna be worth it.


One comment

  1. I hope this doesn’t get too annoying, but I have another metaphysical poem of which you’ve reminded me. This too has some archaic language and, the places I found it, archaic spelling. It’s a reflection on a picture of St. Teresa overlooked by a seraph. A key line is “the wounded is the wounding heart.” And the point is that the wounded heart, the heart that is open and alive as you have determined yours to be is that which most moves the heart of our Lord and is, truly, most powerful in both worlds.

    Richard Crashaw’s “The Flaming Heart”

    I am still torn. I am so proud of you and the life you have chosen (and I mean that in many, many ways), but I do hope that you find and receive grace, consolation and comfort in the midst of it all. He is faithful.

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