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Still Hesitant

August 12, 2012

Talking about the grieving process is a raw and vulnerable thing, but it looks relatively easy right now. Talking about two years of being extremely sick, on the other hand, feels much more challenging and risky.

I don’t fully understand my problem . There is just something about it that is incredibly unsettling. Maybe I have had an easier time navigating the sting of death than I have had navigating this physical battle and its emotional labyrinth.  Is it comforting to realize that Job also seemed to respond more appropriately to loss than to his physical affliction? Maybe it is easier for me to keep a steady grasp on hope when I miss my mom and hate death than it is when I wrestle with this experience of pain. It’s easier to write when my heart is anchored in hope.

I still think I should try. What is the point of writing if I can’t talk about the things that are real or the things that are difficult? God is just as much a part of those as He is the easy topics. And if my blog is going to say anything meaningful to people where they are… well, suffering is one of the most shared experiences of fallen humanity in this broken world that groans for Jesus’ return and judgment.

Simply listing the plain and simple facts of what I have been experiencing feels like being a drama queen. What do I do with the fact that unexaggerated truth about the circumstances feels like hyperbole? Am I merely shying away from unhindered honesty because I am afraid of being judged and perceived as playing it up or trying to conjure pity?

Ugh… pity. Maybe that’s what I’m avoiding.

I don’t like feeling weak. That reality hits me in the face pretty regularly. My physical limitations, the broken manifestations of my feeble body, the accompanying accusations, the emotional baggage… talk about feeling weak and damaged. The bruises and hemorrhages are manifesting physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Why is it so hard to present myself as I am when I am not maintaining the illusion of control and can’t keep myself together? God knows it’s an illusion. It’s a pretty insufficient refuge. Yet I keep finding myself staring at it’s ruins after it has been torn down again. How easily I have reconstructed and taken asylum in the flimsy fortress of imaginary control.

People frequently belittle this experience. I’ve never given most of them an opportunity to understand the reality of my pain. Some of them genuinely believe I am pitiful, lazy, wimpy… a failure. It’s usually easiest to agree with them and believe that it is the truth.

Jesus entered into our humanity and experienced our suffering. He suffered far more than I am. Yet, He does not belittle my pain. He meets me in the midst of it. The Holy Spirit delights in being the Comforter. I think we are a lot more interested in “getting perspective on” and invalidating pain than God. When did that become the mature Christian response to pain? What comfort is there in convincing ourselves that our suffering is insignificant? That doesn’t make it hurt less. It does makes us feel foolish for letting it impact us.

Jesus looked at these feeble little sheep and his heart was moved with compassion. Jesus became a man. Jesus wept. Jesus promised to make everything right in the end. Jesus, the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature. Our merciful and faithful high priest.

Earlier today, a friend made a couple of statements that significantly belittled my pain. I don’t think they knew what they were talking about or how much it would sting. I don’t think they set out to make me feel pitiful and small. Their intentions, however, did not dictate the impact. I didn’t respond well.

I was surprised by how emotional I became. My initial response was to steel myself against the pain, driving myself into anger. The trusty old pain-avoidance route. I’ve been doing that far too easily and frequently, of late. I hate defaulting to that mode. Of course, when I decided to let go of anger and communicate honestly, I was an instant mess of tears.

I made a decision I am still unsure of. I explained some of what this experience has actually been like, in its stark contrast to the picture they seemed to paint. I felt so vulnerable. Honestly, it was a fairly gut-wrenching exercise. Kind of made me want to vomit. (Ha… gut wrenching and vomit. Appropriate.)

That’s what made me realize how incredibly scared I am to talk about it. I feel like I can only handle the explanation if I can pull off an incredibly rushed and nonchalant delivery. Maybe I’m always afraid people will think it is insignificant. I’d rather that judgment be made from a place of ignorance than that of full disclosure. Maybe being nonchalant about it protects me, too. If I can express it in a way that makes it seem like it isn’t a big deal, then I have beaten them to the “no big deal” conclusion and left them little option but to understand it in that way. It somehow doesn’t hurt as much to be so handicapped by “no big deal” when I am the one labeling it.

I don’t know if I will overcome those fears on this blog. I don’t know if I should overcome those fears on this blog. Maybe the details don’t matter. Holy Spirit?

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