A Multitude of Sins
Here I sit alone in almost complete silence. The teal glow on the wall from the lava lamp, and the glow from the computer screen are the only lights on in the house. There’s no music on, no television, just a fan in the dining room I can hear. The sounds of the keys being clicked own is loud in the silence of the house. Occasionally I can hear one of the dogs yawning, or licking their paw, but it’s quiet.
What do we do when we are alone in the dark, no sounds, just the sound of our own thoughts? Where does your mind take you? Mine takes me to a place darker then that of my home right now, a multitude of sins and mistakes. How did I get here my mind asks. How has my life turned out this way, and where the heck do I go form here? The truth is I don’t know. People ask me every day what’s the plan, where are you going to go, what are you going to do? You see, people that know me best know me as the planner. In an earlier post I talked about your emergency preparedness kit and some of what’s in my hiking bag. For the first time in my life I don’t have a plan. I haven’t had a plan since September 18th 2016. That day all of my sins came to the surface, they came with a reckoning, a force strong enough to knock me off my balance and shake the very foundation in which I built my life. Up till that point in my life I had found myself to be relatively successful. I was happily married, doing well at work, doing great in school, working towards a baby, everything I wanted in life. I had the greatest in-laws anyone could ever hope for, a great sister in law, but fate it seems follows it’s own course, not what we want. In just a matter of a short bit of time everything I loved, the life I spent years building would crumble around me and I would loose everything. The foundation cracked and a cavern opened up under me and swallowed me whole. At the time I felt as if I’d never get out. At the time I felt that my pain, my suffering was the end of me and sadly, wrongly, I felt as if I deserved it. I felt as if my sins were coming back and I had to pay for them. I felt as if I deserved to suffer, to undergo pain and suffering.
A life of trauma built up and tucked away in a nice tidy little closet, away from the world so no one would see. The pain inside buried so deep that the mask I wore every day was good enough to fool even those closest to me. So many times I felt the sorrow the shame bubbling up from the deepest pits within myself, and as skillfully as a superhero beats down a lowly thug, I put that stop in the rising pain, and forced it to return back to the darkest places of my very soul. Compartmentalization is such a wonderful tool when dealing with pain. It can be very helpful as a short term coping mechanism but when used for trauma, the idea is to revisit the trauma soon after the crisis is over, and face the memory head on to come to grips with it. The trouble with that is when the day never comes to revisit, it’s locked away, never forgotten, but never addressed either.
What do we do when the foundation we built our very existence crumbles and falls apart? When our foundation is not as solid as we thought it was, and our deepest fears come true? When everything we’ve ever wanted is taken away, when our deepest fear is realized, and every trauma we’ve ever buried breaks out of prison with an angry vengeance the perfect storm is realized and bad terrible things happen to our minds.
When the hurricane hit me I wasn’t able to maintain my footing. I didn’t know what to do, where to go, how to handle, the one and only thing I knew was the word STOP. I knew it had to stop. I felt I deserved what happened to me. I felt I had a right to the pain because I had sinned. I had never lived up to be what I should have, and I earned my place. The memory slipped away after actions were taken. What happened to me? What was going to happen to me? So quickly control was fleeting, a wild chaos was quickly snapped back to a hazy reality but not without consequence. No one ever warned us this might happen. No one ever taught us the repercussions of a lifetime of running. You can’t run forever, sooner or later the past will catch up to you and when it does, it wants its payment with interest.
It would take months to realize the new reality, which was my life. It would take only days to realize how bad of a decision that had been made without conscious control. We all have to answer for our sins, and we all have to pay for them. The hard part about dealing with what we’ve done is forgiving ourselves. For me it’s always been easier to forgive others for the bad things they’ve done, but to forgive myself, you’d have better luck pulling a tooth from a T-Rex. I can never take back what happened that day, but to understand more then just the surface problem, to see beyond the facts of that day, it takes a deeper look into the human soul.
As we walk in our lives we see those around us who get caught in addiction, self-harm, physical disorders such as eating disorders, but do we ever try to address the problem? The problem on the surface is the immediate issue, but the problem I’m talking about is that below, the root of the problem. When people suffer for a long time even when we cannot see it, it can often manifest itself in ways to run and hide from the source. Eventually running is all we know. Eventually that life becomes a new reality a safe comfortable reality in our own minds. Even if from the outside it looks destructive and harmful, no doubt it is destructive and harmful, but life itself is often through the eyes of the beholder.
Survivors of alcoholism, or self-harm, suicide attempts, addictions to sleeping bills or other drugs, they know the route, but it’s everyone around that becomes the new problem. How many spectators become judgmental of the victim? Let’s use suicide as an example. If someone tries to end their life, what is the normal reaction from those around? Some are in shock and disbelief, others flock to the person showering with love and sympathy, but there are others who feel anger and distain. Suicide is often looked to as the coward’s way out, the easy way out. The anger comes from the idea that it hurts the ones who are left behind. So suicide is often known as selfish. The problem with today’s society is a lack of education on various mental health problems. There are a lot of assumptions and negative connotations that exist that doesn’t make them true. As a society we need to learn to answer pain with Love, answer hurt with Love. We’ve become so quick to push people away who cause pain, but never ask if the pain was intentional. Let me tell you, if someone’s facing addiction, or suicide, you are the last person on his or her minds. Some may leave a note behind, but the idea is never to inflict harm on others, albeit the end result is pain and suffering. Ironic that the idea to end ones own pain and suffering it will inflict that upon others, and yet that thought never crosses the victims mind. Colossians 3:12 “12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” We know that when there is pain doctors are compassionate towards the victims, EMS have a bedside manner of caring and love, but when someone in our family or friends harms themselves anger, and venomous reactions take the stage. Isaiah 49:13 “13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” God knows when to be compassionate and when to be hard on his children. Psalm 51:1 “1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” Is it so hard to forgive others? Is it so hard to realize we all make mistakes and we all harm one another at some point in our lives? Forgiveness isn’t something that is supposed to take time, (realizing this is the reality) it’s something that is supposed to come from the heart. Luke 23:34 “34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
We must learn to dig deeper to see the why and not just assume. We must learn to Love first and have compassion to those in pain. We must learn to forgive and understand the sinful nature of mankind. These things are not easy, but are necessary. No matter what the world says about some stigmas the facts remain in scripture. Education is the key to being a compassionate person, understanding the driving forces behind a particular mindset can not only give you incite, but help when you come face to face with it yourself. We all know someone who’s tried to commit suicide, became addicted to something, had some sort of mental health crisis, but do we really ever know the why, or the how? How did we treat them when the initial crisis had passed? Our jobs as a Church body is to love, have compassion, not to tare down someone after they already hit rock bottom. Love not hate, it really isn’t that hard with practice.
If you are the surviver of such an addiction, or suicide attempt, know that tomorrow the day can be brighter. As the Book of Job teaches us no matter how bad a situation may look at the time, tomorrow, God can bless us and change our future in an instant. We must maintain love and faith in God, in both or blessings, and our hardships.