I have run and hidden from my pain my whole life. It is a defense mechanism learned early in my life due to hurts, abuse, and abandonment. Hide, run away when life hurts. Pretend it doesn’t happen. If you talk about it you get in worse trouble. I talk about my first years sharing my heart here. I learned that sharing my heart was the pathway to healing. Through walking through my own pain of my past I learned not to minimize the pain I went through just because it wasn’t as bad as someone else’s pain. Jerry Sittser says it best in his book A Grace Disguised,
”Each experience of loss is unique, each painful in its own way, each as bad as everyone else’s but also different.” Jerry Sittser
I was starting to experience depression and anxiety again. I found I had hidden my pain and heart away again. It was hard to admit. As I started counseling again and started depression medication last year, another blow hit. My beloved Aunt Pat had cancer that had spread to her liver. Another blow hit not long after that. I lost my job due to an untrue accusation. It was my word against someone else. I was fired. I was in a Soul Care Group at the time, along with counseling. For the first time in my life instead of running away as I experienced pain, I walked into the pain and experienced it. I chose a hard path of walking into the darkness. I chose to share my pain with those around me and NOT shut them out.
“My sister, Diane, told me that the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one come to the sunrise. I discovered in that moment that I had the power to choose the direction my life would head, even in the only choice open to me, at least initially, was either to run from the loss or to face it as best as I could. Since I knew the darkness was inevitable and unavoidable, I decided from that point on to walk into the darkness rather than to try to out run it, to let my experience of loss take me on a journey wherever it would lead, and to allow myself to be transformed by my suffering rather than to think I could somehow avoid it. I chose to turn toward the pain, however falteringly, and yield to the loss, though I had no idea at the time what it would mean.” Jerry Sittser
In walking into the darkness, searching for some sort of light at the end, I experienced Jesus in ways I would never have been able to without having to go through grief and loss. I learned to follow Jesus in the pain.
Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” John 8:12 (The Message)
I saw Jesus providing for us. I saw Jesus in the hearts of those around me holding me and hugging me and supporting me. I saw in the midst of the darkness the LIGHT of following Jesus and the depths of his love and grace for me.