I got a text yesterday that ROCKED me. It absolutely rocked me.
Not in the cool way, but in the gut-wrenchingly painful way that stuns and distracts you from the rest of your day. Upon seeing it, I felt a little corner of my world shatter. A corner I thought had healed, and been dealt with and taken care of forever.
I like to think strength is a positively linear thing, something that is built upon and increases with exponential growth through challenges and obstacles. When we conquer one hard time, we come out better. When we meet that same challenge again, we know how to cope. Strength is always on the up and up. There are minor setbacks, but generally you’re moving in the same direction.
God puts obstacles in our way and forces us to stretch outside of the comfortable areas of our life, pushing our boundaries and growing our hearts until we are able to greet the same pain with a smile the next time. Once we make it through, it’s time for the next big challenge. We are ready and confident and know that it’s for the best.
Wrong. This paper-thin theory is dead wrong.
Because in the moment that I received that text, I was back to square one. I was 365 days younger, 365 days dumber, and exactly as helpless as I felt last year at this time.
Isn’t it funny how we walk around with probably hundreds of emotional wounds, each healed and hardened for the most part, but every once in a while something hits one of those wounds deeper than we imagined possible? This wound took a long time to heal, and it was hard to do, and with one text... It was reopened.
I took an extra lap around the block, asking God to show me why something as trivial as a text from a character of a different life story could make me so upset. It shouldn’t have power over me, this I knew. But for some reason, it did.
As I drove down 7th St, I started to cry. Not the hyperventilating crying I’ve gotten increasingly good at in the past year, but big, genuine, hot, sad tears. And then I realized: I wasn’t sad about this text—I was sad for myself.
I was sad for everything I’ve been through this past year. All of the bad relationships I let myself fall into, all of the harmful decisions I’d made, and most importantly all of the times I let myself be a “less than” version of me.
This scenario is where I would normally try and listen to my advice to “put on some gangsta rap and handle it”, but I really truly think I just needed to let myself feel. I needed to feel that wound reopen to remind myself who I want to be going into a new year and what I don’t want to become. I had to feel that deep, dark sadness so God could show me that I’m someone I can be proud of.
I had to be weak, so that I could continue to be strong.
Strength on a grand scale may be a positively linear journey, but when closely examined takes occasional days of reverting back to weakness in order to find yourself again. Never be afraid to feel, but always remember that it’s not okay or healthy to stay in that hurting place for too long.
Only when we can sit face to face with our pain can we ever understand why it’s necessary.