I was talking with a wise woman the other day and I asked her what "healed" was supposed to look like. Everyone says, "give yourself time to heal", and I'm really curious what it's supposed to feel like or look like when your heart is healed. I know that heartache after a breakup makes you feel dirty, spent, and worthless... that "healed" is when you feel restored, clean, and precious again. This kind of heartache... the heartache of death and loss... something is missing... how do you feel whole again?
She used the analogy of the amputation to explain healing... that physical healing and emotional healing were very similar in process. Immediately after an amputation, it might not hurt because you're still numb. After the numbness wears off, it begins to hurt. It hurts a lot. Excruciating pain. You won't even need to touch it and it will hurt. When it begins to heal, you may not feel the pain all the time, but you'll still feel it when you touch it. After you're healed, you should be able to touch the amputation site and it will no longer hurt.
I thought about it a little more and decided that it was true. So it's not necessarily "feeling" whole and complete... it's more about the pain. I don't feel the pain all the time now, only sometimes. Also, when I (or someone else, or something) touches Anderson's place in my heart, it hurts to varying degrees. Sometimes it's just a quick pang and I can flinch and take it. Sometimes it hurts so badly that I just cry wherever I am. I still feel like a piece of me is missing though. I think it's getting better though. I remember in Houston... I couldn't even go shopping. I'd get close to the men's section and I'd just start crying, turn around, and leave the store. Since being home, I've gone shopping, I've gone to the beach, I've been to Disneyland... these were things that I'd imagined would be super hard for me to handle because of the memories that would wash over me, but I was able to do them, get through them, and enjoy myself despite the quick pangs of pain that I'd feel when I'm there.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm just numb or if I'm truly healing. With both, you're not feeling the pain. I guess with numbess, you're not feeling anything at all. I can definitely say that I still feel happy, sad, frustrated, and upset... and I still laugh. I'm not sure I'd be able to feel those things if I were numb and not healing.
Sometimes I just want to protect myself from a lot of things to prevent feeling fear, pain, or uncertainty. Sometimes I won't do things simply because I don't feel like they're relevant to me or that they'll even be worthwhile. Sometimes I don't want to talk to people so they don't ask me hard questions. Sometimes it's just wise to try it just to know that you don't want to do it again (i.e. ferris wheeling). Sometimes limiting certain indulgences is wise (i.e. fatty foods so I don't get... more fat)... sometimes limiting myself is actually robbing myself of potential blessings and joy.
For example, I've received a LOT of books and other reading material lately. Sometimes I think that maybe people don't know what to say so they just hand me a book to let the book say it for them. How many times did they just read the title or the back of the book and decide that it might help me? Do they really know what they're saying to me? I have no idea. I've been tempted to be frustrated that people would rather hand me a book than try and talk to me. I've been tempted to wish that people would stop giving me things altogether. I have since chosen to focus more on the intentions rather than the books themselves. No one is required to give me anything. And no one is forcing me to read them all either. And quite frankly... I don't really want or need to talk to so many people. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that with each book I receive... every situation I encounter (whether new or familiar), I am being given a chance to choose. Do I choose the negative reaction or do I choose the positive? Do I choose my way or do I choose God's way? Choosing and living with my choices is part of my growth. I thank ALL OF YOU for helping me grow.
Mini point: Don't limit yourself when you feel like giving of yourself to someone else or sharing something with someone that you think might help. You just can't get hung up on their response. You give or you share because that's what you're called to do... what they do with it is their choice. Kinda like sharing the gospel too. You are limiting their potential to benefit from or grow when you hold back from sharing.
As you give me something, I am learning how to receive. Thank you for the gift, but thank you also for teaching me how to receive. All of life is valuable for learning, training, exercising, and growing. The bad things too.
I think that a lot (but not all) of things in life are learned in theory before they are practiced. When you learn in theory, the correct response to a given situation seems so obvious. You might think you have mastered the subject because you've aced the theoretical test, but the whole point of theory is to describe or explain a real-life phenomenon. Theories guide, but they do not ensure. Same goes for being a Christian. The Bible guides, but the real test is if your life matches the one described in God's Word. Be a doer and not just a hearer. You can't live a life pleasing to God if you're not really "living" or you're not doing anything risky or you're just protecting yourself from the world. The stark contrast that comes from a life in God versus a life outside of God is the difference that He makes in our life choices, in our reactions, in our priorities...and most of all in our love.
A lot of my "living" now is reaping the fruits of my theoretical studies. I find myself saying "I get it now" quite often. In this way, the Bible has become so much more real to me now more than ever. It's like a little like the joy I felt when I finally got to actually put in a real IV in a real person versus reading about it in a book or practicing on the rubber arm in the skills lab. Stuff I learned all my life...the peace that surpasses all understanding, seeking God and finding Him, the fear of God being the beginning of all wisdom... I understand a whole lot more now than I did before and it makes me really excited and happy but there's still so much I don't know yet and I'm looking forward to learning. I mess up too. I got unnecessarily upset at someone the other day. Through that situation, I'm learning how to be quick to listen and slow to speak and also to not let the sun go down on my anger... to confess and ask for forgiveness right away. I was tempted to just let it go without saying anything or just be mad for a little while longer, but I chose to do something else with it... something better than that. I hope I never stop learning. I hope I never stop feeling like this. I hope I never stop growing.
And let me just end by saying that I have read some of the books that have been recommended to me and 3 out of 4 (that I've read or have started reading) have blessed me immensely. That other 1 was just a mini blessing, but I didn't particularly like it so it was good that it was short. Here's something I read today from a recommended book, Streams in the Desert:
God's promises and His providence do not lift us from the world of common sense and everyday trials, for it is through these very things that our faith is perfected. And it is in this world that God loves to interweave the golden threads of His love with the twists and turns of our common, everyday experiences.Golden threads. I like that imagery.