Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Breaking the Silence
It's been 38 days since I've posted anything here. Far longer since I wrote anything new. Even so, my Google Analytics account tells me people are still visiting my blog every day. This amazes me. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that you, my dear readers, haven't given up on me yet, that you are still waiting for me to speak, that you still believe I have something worth saying.
In truth, it isn't just blogging that has fallen by the wayside lately. It's writing in general. Blog comments, status updates, emails, poems, blog posts—nothing is getting written. Unless, of course, you count the charting of treatment data and the creation of endless to-do lists. The former overwhelms me. The latter somehow keeps me moving when all I want to do is stand still. It doesn't even bother me that these lists are revolving or that many more things are added than checked off. In fact, the very last thing I want is to reach the end of my lists. Busying myself with small tasks is the only way I know to distract myself from all the things I can't control, all the things I can't fix, all the things I don't want to be true but are. And distracting myself is the only way I know to keep from falling apart.
I've added various writing tasks to my lists—email so and so, blog about such and such, comment on this blog or that one—but I just keep skipping over them. I've even moved them from one list to another, not forgetting them but not doing them either. I suppose that's because I know myself too well. For me, writing isn't about listing facts or recounting events. It's about truth telling, firstly to myself and secondly to the people who matter to me. It's a process of uncovering what I'm thinking and feeling and figuring out how that fits into the context of life. And it's most often the way God speaks into my mess and points me towards the way out.
But this kind of writing requires a part of my mind that has been inaccessible to me of late. For months, I've felt an ever-heightening wall going up between the day-to-day functions and the deeper issues—my relationship with God, my ability to love and be loved, my accomplishment of God's purposes for my life, my need to heal and grow and be made new again. This wall has a name, and I am no stranger to its presence. I know it as the Survivor's Wall, and it has been coming and going since I was a very young girl.
Whenever the losses are too big to understand or simply too many to be borne, there comes a moment when "life as usual" is no longer an option. The only choices are to stay curled up in a dark corner or to do whatever it takes to survive. My instinct for staying broken on the floor is exceptionally strong. But it doesn't even compare to my instinct for surviving. Perhaps that's because I learned my skills young, out of necessity, before I understood what I was doing or knew what damage it would cause over time.
You see, survival can be a useful tool. After all, hiding in the dark isn't really a viable option when you need to get out of bed every day, go to work, pay the bills, take care of your home and family—the day-to-day functions of this thing called life. That's when the Survivor's Wall goes up, separating the monumental from the mundane, allowing everyday life to continue while everything else gets buried behind a 10-foot wall. But here's the catch: Surviving is just that—surviving. It may keep you moving, but it doesn't move you forward. It's not about growth or progress or healing or change. In fact, it's not really about "living" at all. It's just about "not dying."
It occurs to me that of all the things we are called to be, "survivors" isn't one of them. We are children of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:15-17). We are "more than conquerors" over trouble, hardship, and persecution (Romans 8:35-37). We are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are victors over sin and death through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). We are ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). We are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).
The list goes on. But none of it has anything to do with being a survivor.
I am beginning to believe there must be a third option in all this—something in between lying broken on the floor and living a half-hearted life. I won't say I know what it looks like or how to get there. But I will say I know it's the path I'm called to take. And this is the first step.
As I break my silence tonight, maybe I've only taken a single brick off the wall or maybe I've torn down a whole section. I don't really know. And for once, it doesn't matter.
It's a start. And that's enough for now.