reunion

this journey is indeed a strange one.

sights, sounds, sensory input that, though i may have experienced these things in another way-at another time-during another part of the journey, do such a wonderful job of flooring me and dizzying me over and over again.  experiences that make me want to simultaneously recoil while also getting excited at the prospect that, maybe, just maybe this time it’ll be different.

i feel myself screaming at myself to withdraw into a closed-up posture, while my mind tells me to sit in that awkward moment of discomfort and just soak it in, because i know it’s only my brain playing tricks on me and i’m no longer the person i once was, i will no longer react to that stimuli the way i used to. gripping onto a shaky foundation with bare-faced, white-colored knuckles, wanting so much to reach the end of all this so i can look back and ask God, “So this was it? This is why you lead me through those valleys?” 

it’s not the end. i can’t discern the end. i can’t see what’s gonna happen next. that’s probably why everything feels so unsettling and confusing in the current season. and, again, i’ve been here before. that overpowering anxiety of feeling like i’m losing my grip on something, though really i never had it in the first place. learning to have peace. be okay. Be okay, this quiet voice whispers to me. Is that you, God?

can i please just sit in peace with myself, claiming who i am and who i was created to be, and being okay with all of that? as brené brown says, that i can go to bed at the end of each day knowing that i am worthy simply because of who i am and not because of what i have failed or accomplished that day?

that no matter what, it will all be okay in the end, and will be okay in the end.

because i am loved. because i may not know, but He knows. that this journey, though it may be a strange journey with moments of confusion and dizziness and restlessness, will ultimately end at the exact place where i am supposed to be, in a better version of myself.

 

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heartstrings.

heartstrings being tugged, both directions.

sometimes the horrors of this work that i do is unimaginable. and i’ve realized that i keep much of it to myself because (a.) I want to protect others’ emotions, and (b.) nobody really understands. for example, how could anyone respond to the following?  – –

i went to visit a family yesterday afternoon at the tail-end of my day at CII. the referral was for a 2 year old who presented with extreme disruptive and ADHD-like behaviors, who currently lived with a relative. this relative was at his wit’s end, trying to make meaning of why this child was so hyperactive and disruptive.

it turns out that when this little blond, blue-eyed boy was 8 months old and living with his parents, he witnessed his dad pull the trigger on his mom. while he was being held by his mom, he watched her getting shot in the head, all of the insides of her brain spilling onto him. i can’t even imagine what his reaction must have been: did he freeze? did he cry?

and though he is in a safe place now, he continues to carry the memory of that incident, and possibly several memories of other incidents, around in his little body. no wonder he can’t sit still, doesn’t know how to use his words, screams and flaps his hands when in distress, throws toys all over the floor, and can’t sleep.

my heart cries out, “God, why?” 

i keep the information in my head, intellectualizing, so that i can explain to the relative how trauma affects very young children. meanwhile, i don’t quite know how to process and what to do with all of this stuff. i think, in a way, walls are necessary as a protective factor. but the sad part is, that many of us are all alone and isolated from sharing stories like this one to our closest friends and family, to our communities.

it’s sobering, but it’s a confirmation. confirmation that this work is necessary and someone  has to be there to walk with these broken families.

but why me?

this morning, while at LLU hospital, I made my routine visit to see one of my patients, a teenage girl with a relapse of osteosarcoma that has since metastasized, who actually placed herself in foster care because she did not feel safe living with her parents. this young girl had decided a few months ago that she would no longer pursue another round of chemotherapy, because previously the cancer had returned more aggressively after some rounds of chemo.

today, she told me and her attending physician that she had decided to give chemo another chance. my heart fluttered. i told her how proud i was of her decision, and she blossomed into a shy and happy smile. i asked her what had changed her mind. she told me that God had told her that morning that He would protect her, watch over her, keep her safe. my heart swelled.

again, confirmation.

this work is exhausting and draining. but these are the moments, good and bad, when i realize this is the work i have been called to. i’m slowly processing the events and experiences of this past week. it hasn’t been easy, but my heart is stirred by something deeper and bigger than myself, telling me it shall all be okay… someday.

in the meantime, those heartstrings… they will continue to be pulled.