Many times I go for weeks, sometimes months, without writing anything. My mind is swarming with countless thoughts and emotions each day, and yet sitting down to write about it feels near impossible–how do I find the exact words for the deepest and darkest season of my life? There really are none.
It’s still a nightmare for me, and I often question whether or not this is all just a long, bad dream. As if I just fell asleep and then overnight everything changed. I’m incredulous at the fact that I have felt nonstop pain for y e a r s now, and increasing pain at that. I’m amazed at the strength God has given me to keep going for that amount of time, and simultaneously demoralized at the thought that if it’s taken this long without improvement from pain, what’s to say it won’t take years more.
I feel like I’m screaming loudly while the world turns a blind eye to the remaining part of the iceberg beneath the surface of the ocean. And then the screaming stops because what do I have to make them believe? I look close to normal. The tip of the iceberg seems to be all that is allowed, the full amount is too icy for some to handle. And while some inquire, they don’t see the everyday struggles, so going from 1-10 seems a little harsh for those who don’t fully know–pretending becomes a very normal part of life in public.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the difference between the depth growing and the hollowness felt. I feel completely powerless as my body attacks itself from the inside out; my brain and body play a wrestling game, but it’s always my body that wins.
I’m a part of an online support group for Lyme disease, one that 68 people joined just the other day alone–the numbers are growing scarily fast. About half of the posts are about different symptoms or different treatments that other people have tried. The other half is new members sharing how they’ve just been diagnosed and need help knowing what to do next…I can’t even bring myself to explain what the journey will be like for them, given it’s different for each person, but I can’t put into words what all of this amounts to. All in all, the group is a hard balance between supportive and depressing…only because seeing pictures of members nearly dying in hospitals and sharing of their struggles doesn’t bring much hope, but rather reminds you if anything how sick you all are while the medical community fails to recognize the disease as valid.
So many more things hurt while you’re being held to the ground by the weight of your trial. Even a simple comment from someone standing at a regular height can sting, for they can’t feel the same weight from up above.
It’s become second nature for us to speak our minds and share our opinions without a second thought. And speaking our minds to make truth and justice known…oh I hope our brothers and sisters of this world always do this. But sharing opinions and instructions to advise those in their darkest trials? Oh friend, be careful. Learn more first. Research their situation first. Listen more before you speak.
There’s a lot of pain in a lot of places, and I can now feel for so many walking through similar trials of ambiguous loss. There has been an influx of public opinion from friends and family alike, and I’m still learning how to fight through the pain of other’s twisted words and shallow opinions, all while they don’t know the full truth. If you haven’t walked someone’s journey then at the very least do what you can to understand it, get all the facts, and ask God how you can be there for them.
I think my best posture has been kneeling down next to someone before sharing my thoughts from up above…even if they make sense to a lot of people, my peer won’t hear them the same unless she knows I too have knelt down low to feel what she feels. When I’ve jumped ahead I’ve disregarded their feelings just to make my advice known. Even encouragement can feel empty when you know the other person hasn’t truly understood your discouragement.
And isn’t that the posture Jesus Himself took just to understand us?! He knelt low to understand the depths of humankind; came as a human babe and lived among us. He could’ve simply advised and encouraged from His place on high, but in coming down, He showed us that His advice and encouragement can be fully trusted because He’s walked the very roads of pain, shame, betrayal, loss, sickness, and struggle that we have. His speaks tenderly to us because He knows the tenderness of our heartsas we walk through our dimly lit tunnels.
May we mirror the posture of Christ during this advent season.
He bowed low so we might be raised higher.
How would our relationships work if we first bowed down our judgments and knelt close with our people–would we raise their spirits higher instead of pushing them away?
The Hebrew meaning of “to kneel” is barak. The “piel” form of the verb barak literally means “to bend the knee to present a gift.” Whoa.
When we are kneeling beside our loved one in their struggle, we are giving them a gift. Our understanding of their time is a blessing to them in their trial.
And this makes so much sense when looking at Christ. His bending low and entering into our world has resulted in the greatest gift we could ever ask for…the gift of Him and His salvation. We are still being blessed with that gift each day from His one act thousands of years ago.
This Christmas may we learn how to rejoice in the true meaning…the gift of our Savior, and also how to, like Him, be gifts to those around us.