The past month and a half have been the hardest of my adult life. I'm sure there are worse days to come, as I plan on living much longer and there are far worse things in the world, but so far, I can say without doubt that these have been the worst thus far.
About a year ago, I started seeing a counselor. In our first meeting, she asked me what the 9/11 events in my life were. What shaped me? What changed everything? I listed them for her. Most all of them happened before I was 15 years old. For the past year, we have been working out these events and my responses to them. I've learned how powerless I've felt. I've learned how rejected and lonely and afraid I've been. I've learned that in order to deal with all these feelings I've created a wide array of coping mechanisms that make me think I'm taking care of myself. She calls them “fortresses.” She talks using cool words like that all the time. She says things I'll never forget. She says things like, “this is not that,” and, “Kylee, there is another way.”
This is not that.
I was sitting in a rolly chair when it happened. I love rolly chairs. You know, chairs that roll. I had taken several rides on this particular chair pulled by coworkers in the past. And that's where I sat as my world changed very suddenly. A safe place became a strange place in a second. And in that second, I was six years old again. Powerless and rejected and afraid. And this moment most certainly felt exactly like those past moments a decade or so ago. Exactly the same.
The thing is, I am not six years old anymore. I'm twenty-seven. Facts are: I'm not hiding beneath the window. I'm living my life. I'm not alone. I have an incredible group of people around me who love me. An amazing husband who is proud of me. And I am not powerless. I have skills, gifts, passion, and more than all of this, a God who did not give me a spirit of fear. He gave me spirit of power, and love, and a sound mind. This is not that. It's different this time.
I've tried to run to the old fortresses. I've spent the night in the safety of hatred, denial, self-absorption, self-hatred, revenge, codependency....all the old tricks. But-
There is another way.
A new way. A living way. The Gospel. I don't need to close off my heart to being hurt again, or seal away my hopes in tombs of cynicism. We have a God who raises the dead. We have a God who cares about forgiveness and grace and justice. We have a God who asks us to leave it all behind and follow him down roads we don't know yet that seem strange and dark and like they will cost a lot to walk. Our pride, our pain, our security- they cannot be the gods that govern us. They won't be the gods that govern me.
“Jesus answered them, "Do you finally believe? In fact, you're about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)