We search a lifetime to figure out who we are. We are in constant movement, developing into different versions of ourselves based on our experiences. There are times these experiences bring forth sides of our human nature that we are not proud of. Then there are times we are pleasantly surprised with ourselves. I don’t believe “we are who we are.” I believe we are who we choose to be. Life
can will throw us curveballs. It’s only a matter of time. What do you do when the ball comes flying straight at you 90mph and there is not enough time to run, duck or hide before getting blasted? The force is so strong that the moment of impact brings you straight to your knees as you gasp for just a single breath of air. What do you do? Do you quit the game? Do you keep on batting? In my case I tried both and well, neither worked. So I decided to take some time away from the field and search for as much healing as this heart could possibly absorb.
I took the pressure off of myself to be who I was before my life turned upside down. I stopped listening to both the angel and devil sitting upon my shoulders and only looked straight ahead. Before I lost Jake I think it would be fair to say I wore the weight of the world. I was the good listener, the good friend, the do-for-others kind of girl. I couldn’t stomach the thought of anyone hurting and I mean anyone. I would think about the homeless man I gave change to for days. I would stay awake at night wondering about patients at work. I wouldn’t be able to think straight if I thought I offended someone. I was the epitome of an over thinker.
And then my life shifted into a universe that I didn’t recognize. I couldn’t think straight let alone over think. It felt like I lived in a constant fog amongst a world of people who walked and talked indescribably fast. I stopped carrying others burdens for a while. Not because I wanted too-but because I had too. I don’t think words alone could be adequate enough to provide an understanding of even the glimpse of pain I was feeling-not just on my heart but through my entire body, mind and soul. I can now look at this year and say that being selfish while you are grieving isn’t a bad thing. It’s a means of survival. Some will understand this and some will not. Some will stand by your side during this time and some will not. But you won’t be in this place forever if you choose not to be and allow yourself the grace to heal. Those who are still standing there waiting are part of beauty in the chaos. Those who aren’t, well I’ve come to find peace with that as well.
I have started healing a bit. I feel like I am emerging from that selfish place. To be honest, I have mixed emotions about it. Truth-tunnel vision is kind of a gift. When I started to really feel the weight of others pain again the stress of an old familiar kind settled back into my bones and I don’t miss it very much. It’s not that I don’t want to care for others, that’s not it at all. It’s actually the opposite. But it’s just so heavy. It gives me such an unsettled feeling when I’m so in tune with others stress. I just want everyone to be okay. I want the world to be in sync. I want everyone to be happy and safe and healthy. That’s how I know my old self is coming back. She’ been there all along. I have missed her. But she can be so annoying. The old me doesn’t know how to not wear the world on my heart.
So here is the next step of my journey…what do I do with all that I have learned during this time? How do I use it? I think this is a question that will take another year or two or even a lifetime to figure out. One thing at a time. I am quickly recognizing that I don’t like feeling the heaviness of others aching hearts. It doesn’t make me feel good or even helpful. It just makes me feel sad and anxious. So lesson one: Give it to God. He can bear the burden. He is strong enough. I am not. It is only when I gave my own pain to God that I began to heal. He has it in his hands-every single mille-second of it. He does not need my help with that. He needs me to trust in him and give it to him always. Each time I feel the weight, the fear, the anxiety, and the pain for others-I need to give it to him. He is the only one who can truly lift the pain and comfort the weary. I can certainly do my part but not the way I have been. I can help others without absorbing their despair. I can still be me-but a more trusting version of me.
It’s going to take time. I’ve spent thirty one years not fully giving it to him. Not completely trusting him with the full weight if I am being honest. I refuse to spend the next thirty one doing the same.
So what will you do when the curve ball comes your way? If I could offer one piece of advice I would say this-
take time to focus on yourself and give the rest to God.
And maybe, just maybe…you will find your head above water sooner than you may have expected.