Life hurts and you want it to end. You don’t want to feel a single moment. So you run from the pain and you try to escape yourself. Lose yourself in whatever promises you relief. Relief for a moment. To feel nothing. Nothing but numbness. And as you grasp the relief you ignore the subtle voice whispering. “It’s lying.” Lying. Telling you things that are not true. And slowly killing who you are. Until it uses you and leaves you standing there. Hurting. Bleeding. Wanting life to end. And you start the viscous cycle again. Always believing the lie that this will bring you relief from the pain.
But what if you are brave enough…
What if you are brave enough to tell the truth? What if you are brave enough to share the darkness and the ugly and all that deep searing pain that keeps you trapped in the viscous cycle? What if you just, for one second, stand lost in the moment and feel the pain? And let the pain speak to you. Let the pain tell you that you are fully alive? Fully alive with a broken soul, crying out for the relief that only comes from the one that you desperately seek? The one that knew you long before they told you the lie that you believed? What if embracing the pain is the only way you find your way back to yourself? What if you are brave enough to to feel the pain and let it wash over bringing the cure to your disease. Brave enough to let others love you. Brave enough to pull yourself up off that floor and move from the place you are.
It is time.
6 years ago my husband sat on the edge of our bed. “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” I looked at the one I relied on to be strong. Stable. Steady. I just looked at him and felt lost. I offered no comfort. Just angry words. Accusations. I wanted him to deal with his issues, not rip our lives apart. But he was desperate. And a small part of me found compassion for him. So I agreed to follow him. Wander across the country until he found whatever it was he was looking for.
Our family and friends worried and questioned and cautioned. And I worried our kids would look back and remember the time their parents fell apart and dragged them along for the ride. But somehow we managed to pull it off. We let it all go and left Portland with three kids, a dog and a trailer hoping to find ourselves.
And the husband and I look back and realize that summer saved us. That summer we quit falling apart and started healing.
It’s been a long, hard journey. I have never felt more healthy, more alive. And then this summer hits. Suddenly, I feel that fear again. The dread. I watch him spiral. The pain and pressure weighing down on him. No amount of help is stopping this spiral. And instead of leaning into Abba, I lean into my own strength. Fear overwhelms me. Because this time I’m not dropping everything and following him. Our kids aren’t tolerating us ripping their lives apart again, to relieve their daddy’s pain. This time, we have to stop running and start standing. We have to deal with life and the pain and the pressure and the fear and stand strong. The days of being young and stupid and running away are GONE.
After a few weeks of arguing with Abba I get to the place he wants me. I’ve never felt more strong, standing weak before my father. And the pain and the pressure hit us hard. And I stand strong.
We get into our car and drive from Portland toward the coast. Toward the ocean where I feel Abba and I breathe and I relax. I know that we need to talk. Talk about things that the pressure has brought to light. I don’t feel like doing a therapy session. Lord knows we have had enough of those in this lifetime.
I want my words to be what Abba wants me to say. I want us to enjoy the time we get together. To forget about the responsibility and pressure of a business and a life that we said yes to before we understood what it required. But I know that we like to avoid the things that hurt and Abba is absolutely not letting us do that anymore.
He breaks the silence. And we talk. I can’t do anything but let the conversation go the way it should. Abba is speaking to his soul. Through me. We sit at a table. This man and I. I can feel his questions and doubt and fear and pain and my heart wants to stop beating because it hurts so much. I look at him and whisper, “Don’t you know who you are?” and he looks at me and whispers, “I’m beginning to see.” I can see Abba sitting there, smiling, because his kids finally got past their pretenses long enough to actually help one another. We leave that table, both fundamentally changed by a conversation outside our control.
That started our weekend. And it opened the door for things that have to be said. About behaviors that hurt and destroy what Abba has done. About learning to be honest, to be open and to quit hiding from one another and from our God.
And we’re driving along the coast, sun shining, music blaring, just enjoying the silence, his hand resting on mine. And we get lost in the moment.
“Though the battle rages, we will stand in the fight. Though the armies rise up against us on all sides. We will not be shaken. For we trust in our God. We will not be shaken.”
We look at each other. Tears. And we whisper, “I love you.” And we feel it. This moment. “This is a God moment.” I say. He smiles. And we don’t have to say anything. We know. This is a moment that reminds us we are loved. If this was the last moment we had on earth it would be the best ever.
We had this moment, because one day I decided running from the pain was not working. I stopped, turned into the pain and let it wash over me, healing what had tried to kill me before. And now I’m teaching him to do the same. Together we are getting braver, stronger…whole.
That’s just a little bit of what happened on this amazing weekend…the rest is meant to be just between me and him.