a year ago, i was not okay.
i was driving down lakeshore today, on the way to samford and to beeson and to chapel, and i passed by lakeshore park plaza. i admired the leaves, because fall leaves are one of my favorite things. and they took me back to a time, last year, when i admired those same trees from inside the building, from inside a counseling office, from a counselor’s couch.
i was scolded one time, in my counseling classes, for smiling too much at a “pretend client.” my professor had us engage in mock counseling sessions with local couples. i smiled a lot, he said. in fact, he asked me if i was on a date with my clients. i told a close friend about my professor’s rebuke. my friend said he thought counselors would smile some, to build rapport (i always thought that word was spelled repoire…funny, huh?) and to make the client feel comfortable, safe. i agreed with him. i never told him he was right–and i never told him that i knew some counselors smiled, because mine did. because i had never told him, or you, that i was in counseling.
some people knew. some people knew that i sat in an office once a week, and that i fought myself even to get out of my car and press the button on the elevator to go to the second floor. that my hands would shake each day when i checked in to the office, and sometimes my brain would have to scream at my legs to stand up, and walk my body into that office. that i was unsure of the point of the whole thing. that i’d leave broken and drained and feeling a bit like i had been fighting with myself for hours on end.
and some people knew why i was in counseling–because i needed to face so many demons of the past. because hurting people…well, they hurt other people. because i didn’t want my ministry to be about meeting my felt needs and filling the empty places of my life, where loneliness haunted me. because i couldn’t fall asleep, and i couldn’t stay asleep, and i was running myself ragged trying to occupy every silence and every void so that i didn’t have to deal with the big questions and the big issues.
i spent a lot of time in lakeshore park plaza. i spent a lot of time crying. i spent a lot of time writing. some of it was really angry. in particular, over the season of thanksgiving last year, i fought with myself and my past and wrestled and cried and mourned and yelled.
i wish i could tell you that there is a magic pill. i wish i could say that there’s a three-step-process to healing every hurt. but there’s not. i wish i could make it go away for you, if the lonely places are consuming you too. but i can’t. i can tell you that all the hurt, and all the pain, and all the brokenness are not just enigmatic of one particular situation (my particular situation) but are in fact a result of sin. of the brokenness of this world. of the fall. that things are not as they were intended–that we are not whole, perfect people, and are walking around like soldiers in a battlefield, holding ourselves and trying to maintain composure in the midst of serious warfare and strife. this is not okay. things are not always okay.
but i can tell you that i’m okay, or at least, i’m going to be okay. i can tell you that some days are much better than others. i can sing to you of the healer’s grace, and that each day is another day and another opportunity to live out the truth of the gospel–that though i come to Christ broken, i do not have to remain broken. and oh–how i wish i could say healing is instantaneous and immediate…but it is not. and there are still scars. but the process of being refined by fire is sweet, even in the midst of the pain. the household of faith which clung to me and surrounded me in my darkest of days, those people are worth far more than i can ever express in a simple blog post.
i drove by lakeshore plaza today, and i thought to myself, “the leaves are beautiful.” and i wondered if some things have to die for other things to be born–and how enchanting, and theological, and poignant it is that dying leaves can be so beautiful. each day is another chance for me to die to myself. to surrender to the will of God. to be reminded of the gospel and its implications for how i live out every aspect of my life. including how i deal with the hurt and the pain. each day, i’m thankful for the perspective i received as i sat on that counselor’s couch, and sometimes i laughed, and sometimes i cried, and sometimes i was angry.
but mostly, looking back, i was thankful for the reminder that God cared. that he had not left me alone in my grief. that he grieved for my sadness, and my loss. that he is making all things new, and that he makes beautiful things out of our brokenness, for his glory. i’m thankful that these words aren’t trite anymore, and that i had to fight to be able to say and write them. and i’m thankful that one day, on the other side of heaven, i’m promised–i’ll be more than okay.