Now I want to make a post about the power of love and friendship.
“I engineered smallness b/c I wanted to avoid criticism.”
This is a summarized quote of Brene Brown’s I heard recently and it is on point with what I have been doing for a while now. I have called it hiding.
This is the result of getting beaten up too many times. Spiritually beaten up. It is not b/c of pride and ego. Brene is giving words that spiritual pain and physical pain hit the same nerves in our bodies. It is real pain and we ignore it b/c we cannot see it. We spiritualize that pain away instead of tending to it. It is because we know so little about emotions and thought they were to be avoided. This is changing and I find great hope in this.
When I started seminary it became abundantly clear I had issues that needed extra help if I was going to complete my seminary journey. Jen Hatmaker who is in a new relationship gave words to this: you do not know all of the stuff you have to deal with until you get into a new relationship. This is so true and not just true for romantic relationships. Which, by the way, we do not have enough language for relationships outside of romantic ones. They are real and good, and when they are gone–especially tragically–it is a real loss. Grieving is necessary for any loss of a relationship, communally or individually. Learning how to trust again is not an easy journey, but it is worth it! I will do it again over and over because the beauty is worth the brutal that comes with it.
When I started seminary I had major imposter syndrome, and I was scared to trust people who I was growing to love more and more every day. It felt good to love deeply again, but it was also scary when the pain of a recent loss was so fresh. I was real with my professors about my trauma and they were so patient with me. Same with the people who were walking beside me. I am not sure why no one gave up on me. I shared that in my report on anxiety recently in my internship class too. I was ready to run, but I was daring everyone else to leave first. No one did, and then I realized I did not want to run. So, I stayed and I did the work to heal. And boy, a lot more things came up that I had to tend to. This is the hard work I have done that I am most proud of.
By the time I started my internship I thought I was doing pretty good. I was even able to take a break from therapy when my therapist had her baby. When she came back, I needed her desperately again. I had learned to trust my team (BHS and church leaders who were beside me) and my professors, I was not ready for the laity. Now I was in the ring learning how to take critique from people who did not know my story. It was hard and messy. I was embarrassed b/c I did not know why I could not push through and just be okay. But y’all, they did not give up on me either. The third group of people showing me they are not giving up on me. Nothing was at stake for them to not give up on me either, so now I am starting to believe not everybody (communally) leaves.
My final normal monthly LTC meeting was last night and it was so good. Everyone was astounded by my growth. One said I gave a beautiful theological reflection that went beyond stating the need for justice. I gave a clear theological response that showed how what I believe is also part of our faith commitment. It was so good all around. I learned to trust people and the process in seminary.
I have an inner peace that has never been present in my life before. I have faced my worst fears and survived them. I have also found people still standing right beside me anyway. Healing is hard but so worth it! My schedule this semester was too much and I could not control it, so I did not try. I just did my best to show up and it was enough. That is the best lesson I have learned in these three years.
People are looking for people who are faithful, not perfect.
Thank you to all the people who never gave up on me. You have shown me the power of love, friendship, and that church can work when we truly care for each other. I am ready to take what you have taught me onto the next journey.