I was skyping with my friend a few minutes ago, and I had one of those magical moments where you feel removed from your body, and are able to zoom out on your life and see the big picture.
Has this ever happened to anyone else?
I was talking and all of a sudden I became aware of a way I had grown, a way I had changed that I never noticed before, and I saw it from a distance, like a reverse telescope. These days where I feel like nothing will ever change, the beautiful sight of my moons and galaxies from far away created an excitement in me, that I am changing. Things are different now.
Eight years ago, my youth pastor, who was my mentor and spiritual dad, was arrested for rape.
While I was on the phone with him.
The line went dead and that was the last time I ever talked to him.
The events following that evening were a blur of brokenness, depression, and a roux of terrible coping mechanisms. All of those things and more make for a different story, but what I want to expose was the fact that I couldn’t cry. Oh sure, I cried all the time alone, and I spent the next year crying in the car, in my room, in the shower, but always alone. The second I was around other people, I lost all emotion and reverted into a zombie -like state.
When I was by myself again, I would become angry that I was so fake, that I was so hard. All I wanted was for people to believe how sad and broken I was, how I really wanted to be comforted. I would see mothers hold crying babies and become jealous. I would hear people say “come to me if you ever need a shoulder to cry on” and I would pray, “Jesus. If nothing else, if you choose not to heal me or change my circumstances, please let me be able to cry with people. I want to feel loved in my brokenness.”
I was a zombie for two years.
It took a long time, but eventually I moved on, things got better, and I forgot about the little prayer I prayed almost daily. But honestly, I don’t remember a time in my life, since I was a little kid, where I was able to cry in front of a friend. Eight years passed and I spent those years dry.
During the following years, I started to learn that I needed people, even wanted people. It was like I was experiencing life for the first time, and I had to relearn how to eat and walk. I was so individualistic, and I discovered what it meant to live in community and share space and food and even money with people. Jesus jumped out of the box I shoved Him in and became new to me through His kids. I could laugh with people, pray with people, even comfort people, but It took forever for me to bare my own soul, and never to the point where I cried.
Almost two years ago I took my first step of bravery and shared my heart and head with some people. I spilled all, walked away with a vulnerability hangover, but also bit giddy with my new found freedom. It wasn’t always that easy though, and I soon found out that I was pretty awful at being real, that I was really great at pretending everything was fine, and I was terrified of people thinking badly of me. All of these things reinforced the fact that I had a hard time feeling negative emotions with people, and while living in community I started to have the desire I had eight years earlier.
I’m not sure if all of this makes sense or is relevant to anything, but almost three months ago I started to cry. It honestly happened one day in April, and since it started, hasn’t turned off. The day it began I cried for almost six hours non stop; now I honestly can’t hold in the tears when I feel them coming. Its kind of ridiculous, like the 25 year old dam broke for no reason, really, and in the past two months, I have had the honor and joy of sharing sadness with other people. I’ve had people hug me and sit and cry with me. I’ve been able to have my inner feelings express themselves on the outside. While I hate the reason, it's really the most beautiful feeling in the world; to have your inside and outside finally match.
I realized all this literally five minutes ago. It’s like I saw a timeline of my recent years; being broken and how I stuffed everything deep because I didn’t trust people, even though I wanted to, and now, even though I feel like I suck at being vulnerable and transparent, I’m able to let the Body in and feel with me. And damn it, I feel a lot.
Makes me realize that I’m braver than I think I am.
In the moment I realized this, seeing my own personal solar system from afar, I was able to see all the stars and planets orbiting the sun with me, cheering for me, loving me, even crying with me.
Yeah, I’ve changed.