To the man walking down the street at 11:30pm, staring at the woman putting out the recycling collection, in her cheepo jogging trousers with a hole in the bottom and her broken Birkenstock-look-alikes, swearing when the lid fall off the shampoo bottle …
Yes, this is real life.
This is real life when you have the first physical sensation flashback you’ve had in years.
And you don’t do anything, your face remains the same and you carry on listening to your friend talking. You swallow the panic and the intense nausea. You space out but try and act engaged.
You call your husband when you leave and forget why it was you called him and what it was that was so important you had to call him, when you’d be home in 5 minutes.
You go home, even though you need to go grocery shopping, and one of the first things to leave your mouth?
‘Why can’t I even react to a flashback like a normal crazy person?’
You try to take a nap, but can’t – or you drift out of waking and dreaming so quickly you can’t tell if you slept or not.
But you go get groceries and you cook your husband supper. Because that’s what you do.
You push away thoughts you don’t want all evening. Because that’s what you do.
And then you remember at 11:30 at night that you haven’t put out the recycling for the collection in the morning. So you do it in your comfy clothes that don’t get worn outside. Even though they have holes in and you’re grumpy.
Because that’s real life.
I don’t know how my story will end, but nowhere in my text will it ever read … “I gave up.”
TRIGGER WARNING: This post talks about some issues that might be triggering, please consider before reading.
My heart is so very, very heavy and I have that aching tightness in my throat from needing to cry, but not being able to get out one tear.
I have read too many stories today of CSA (Childhood Sexual Abuse) and ChurchToo survivors. I have to read them – my heart demands I bare witness to their stories and hear their truth. But it brings pain – not just the pain that flows from their words and must be a daily part of their lives – but it stirs up my own pain, reminds me that the lid is still open on the well of my own experiences.
I also printed out almost an entire journal to read, that was recommended through the GRACE organisation – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. The journal was titled ‘Child Absue and the Chrusch – Prevention, Pastoral Care and Healing. I didn’t really read it as I printed, but my heart broke again that it is even needed in the first place.
Why am I putting myself through such tough reading, such constant exposure to horrible issues? Because I can’t just sit and do nothing. There are too many hurting people out there, hurting people that all too often don’t find the comfort they need within churches, and if in my battles to make people talk about these things more and have a gentle, loving response to survivors, I can help at least one person to feel listened to, valued and loved, through one of the most horrific life-experiences, then it is more than worth my pain, my heavy heart, my sore throat, my nightmares.
For now, my heart is too heavy and it has exhausted me. Sometimes seeing hope is nearly impossible and the mountain seems overwhelmingly steep.
So for now, I’m going to seek hopeful-oblivion in an afternoon nap.