begin again; with grace

Hey stranger, 

Minus the "can't sleep have to write 'me too' post," it's been a while, huh? That 'while' has had a few ups and downs. Refiners fire and all that if we were to try and get spiritual about it. 

Because of that, it's the first time I've sat in front of my computer screen unsure of how to begin. That un -sureness (not a word, but we'll go with it)  is what's kept me away for a little while. But a a couple of months ago, in an unreal message, my pastor said, "deal with doubt on the move."

So now I'm back- and giving myself grace (not my forté) for my time away. 

This time reminded me that I'm not a finished product. I didn't know it, but I was believing a lie that said that if I was going to talk to you about my healing, my journey- it needed to be complete... and when I stumbled under that self imposed pressure, I panicked... My pride has had to take a hit on that one, which is never fun. But the feeling of freedom beginning to creep in with the understanding that I will forever be a work in progress until the day I get to heaven?? It's peaceful. My healing, though miraculous up to this point, is not yet complete -  but it will be - that's a promise...

For I am confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus - Phil 1: 6

My incompleteness doesn't invalidate or change the purpose of the journey. It solidifies it because it recognizes my absolute, dyer need for Jesus. 

During my hiatus, April 26 came and went. 

Three years ago on April 26, I woke up in a hospital bed, afraid, and exhausted. I spent the rest of that day answering questions, giving statements, being examined and studied, before collapsing into 15 hours of desperately needed sleep. 

Two years ago, I woke up at home in TX, surrounded by family- spiritual and literal, consoled and watched. 

One year ago, I sat on the beach, astounded at redemption, inspired by newness, relieved to be on the opposite coast of my memories, and grateful for creative distraction.

This year, the lead up to April 26 was fraught with tears and turmoil. I was acutely aware that April 26 was on its way and that I would be here, in the city where that date became an 'anniversary,' for the first time since. 

In the land of trauma, anniversaries are well studied... Anniversary Reactions, the Anniversary Effect. The actions and reactions surrounding that day are an exacerbation of the normal, every day symptoms that accompany PTSD: intrusion, avoidance, negativity, arousal, anxiety, headache, profound sadness, stomachache... Our bodies store those memories at a cellular level- the mind keeps a detailed log even when we'd rather it exist beyond the confines of time. Nothing solidifies a memory more than trying to forget it. When a trauma occurs, the brain is hyper-active, and in its overwhelmed state, it takes more detailed notes of the event than it would of our normal coffee shop interaction or half-smile at a stranger on the street. It notes the abnormality, the shocking different-ness. It doesn't just log the time on the wall, but the colors of the clock, the size of the time markings, the light hitting the aluminum, and the deathly pace at which the seconds tic by. The clock that would normally go unnoticed becomes a museum piece, every inch examined and studied. 

The mind tries to protect us. To warn us- trauma is coming, trauma is coming. The unconscious brain is screaming, "this week is going to be hard, you need to take a minute." But our stubborn nature, absolutely determined to forget, squashes the breath out of those warnings. Pride tricks us into thinking we can do it all on our own. Or at least mine did. 

This year on April 26, I woke up alone, in my apartment , on a normal Wednesday. I took a shower, put on my clothes, ran downstairs to grab a coffee, and took the subway to work the same way I do every day. This year, it felt like just another day. For the first time, the unimaginable weight of that date dissipated a bit. There was not a desperate need to run from NY, but rather, an inadvertent compulsion to stay. To love and live in the place that I fought to keep as home.. the pattern of running away, broken.  

I had so many ideas about where my life would be three years later. About what I might be doing, who I might be walking with. And at the same time, I wondered how I would be here at all. How I would ever live a normal life again. How April 26th would ever just be another day to me. 

But then the day just existed in all its newness. The same way every day does. Its innate newness provided an approachability. 

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." - Ps 30:5

You might be thinking, 'ok, but April 26th was six months ago- what about those 180 days?' 

Oh sweet friend, I can't wait to tell you about those days one day. Because I believe that those days will speak to God's absolute, unconditional, grace giving, soul electrifying, bring you to your knees in gratitude, love in a way I can't yet fully comprehend. But for now, I have to finish what I started over a year ago- 

So when you next hear from me, we'll be back to the 52 day journey; poetically (simply because I love the number 3) walking into day 30 together. 

 

See you soon and all my love,

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