Once again this week, Scott Erickson is showing up as my teacher at this moment in my life. His Stations of the Resurrection series is fantastic and is helping me see what I am going through in a different light. Transforming my despair into hope.
This past week, the trauma we went through almost a year ago came back with a vengeance due to both amazing and horrific memories at the same time. Good memories—The Sachse soccer team doing so well in the playoffs and reconnecting with our friends we have missed so much. Bad memory: the hospital bill (FROM SACHSE-like, what the hell?!) that came right after paying taxes, which made me angry for various reasons. But it most of all reminded me of what caused the ache. Despite my best efforts to just let it be using the tools I have learned from my spiritual training—I still relived the trauma; and now, damn it, I am recovering again. The intense feelings of both joy and sadness at the same time were a lot for my body, and it sent me into a PTSD attack. Yesterday, on my walk, I had to sit down halfway through the walk b/c I am not strong enough to complete the walks I have been doing. Trauma is no joke, friends. I also want us to take that more seriously. It affects our bodies. Unseen wounds are wounds.
I am considering alternative ways to handle my trauma. Because even with all the tools I have in my toolbox, I still went through intense pain again. But I write this post for a larger purpose than to share how I am going to treat my trauma; what I really want is systemic change. Me considering an alternative source of healing is a great solution for me, but it will not be necessary for others if we work on healing our systems.
Ram Dass, who reminds me all the time to be at peace, even when what comes to me is negative, because what I will learn from the suffering will end up being a source of grace. I can testify he is right. He learned this from having a stroke. His stroke was not the means of grace; what he learned from the suffering was grace. It led him to a quieter life and deeper connection with people than he had before traveling all over the place speaking to people. But he also says we must challenge systems. The pain and trauma I endured is not be continued indefinitely just for the sake of the gift of grace people may gain from the suffering. Makes me think of Paul when he says: Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! (Paul was a mystic, don’t you know.).
Listen, I know what it is like to be reactionary. Seven years before our most recent trauma, there was another trauma. It was different, but also the same. We were warning about this very issue, and no one listened. The danger was not in one person; it was in the whole system and how we justify just about anything. So, wouldn’t you know the work I have done the last seven years would turn on me and my family?! It is an unreal and wild turn of events that I never in a million years imagined would happen. But, this event did make me look back at that time and consider if maybe I was too punitive. I, too, was reactionary and trying to make a quick fix before we really understood what was going on. I still stand by what I was warning back then, because I saw with my own eyes it was true—but, what I did not know was how we as a culture do not understand the signs. (Now the gospel of John is in my head) We either ignore it, or everybody becomes suspect. Neither position brings us to a better and more healing future.
I realize now that a punitive mindset only brings weeping and gnashing of teeth for everybody, and it will come for everybody. Jesus went through serious anxiety wanting God to take away his need to keep going by the way of Love in a culture of death. He was sweating blood, and his disciples fell asleep in their grief (Luke 22). I understand this a lot better now. It is hard. And when the culture is not set up for healing and learning, we will continue to inflict trauma that will never allow us to grow and learn. And the one fighting for love will die.
In my family, my body was hit the hardest. If you know me at all, you know I was the one fighting the hardest with my whole body—because I could. I was going to public offices and calling people to account, emailing everyone who I felt should be standing up and taking responsibility with us, and just trying to get anyone to care and take a damn stand on our behalf. That knocked me out. I became the advocate I so desperately desire for me too.
But I needed to learn when to surrender sooner. Just like right now. What I did took a toll on me in a way that is hard to recover from, and I am getting tired again. I know what I have learned is vital for the work ahead, and I need to rest again so I can prepare for it—b/c I am more than ready to get in the game of life. But not yet. Already (all ready), and not yet has never felt so real to me. Sometimes the best thing to do is let it play out, and then we learn, TOGETHER, before we do better.
That is my work right now. This post by Scott Erickson about doubt and wondering if love is worth the risk again is on point. Since Elsa is my prophet, the song “Into the Unknown” is playing for me right now.
Thanks for listening. I am off to rest.