Sometimes, in a dream, or sudden flashback, I remember something dark, frightening, shame-producing, upsetting or infuriating from my past.
I guess you do too. It’s part of being human.
One way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is through what Brené Brown in Daring Greatly calls numbing—surfing the internet, binge-watching TV, food, overwork, oversleeping, Facebook.
Putting your rubbish into the basement rather than composting or incinerating it is dangerous…your home will get moldy; it will affect your breathing, and your health.
Not dealing with pain is similarly dangerous.
* * *
Hey, I am no expert in this, but this is what I do. I try not to suppress the memory which has presented itself to me. Or distract myself with chocolate or surfing the web.
I sort of say, “Well, hi there, memory. Hello, old self.” For the old self in the memory may have been very tired, very frightened, very angry, very inexperienced, and unwise. She is not who I am now, but I have compassion on her, my former self.
I re-enter the situation mentally, hopefully for the last time, though I will continue to do so as long as the memory hold pain, a sting.
I see myself, scared and angry in the metaphorical darkness.
But I see more. There is someone with me, always with me.
He extends his hands to me, and from his hands rush sparkles, stars, streamers of iridescent kindly light. The Northern Lights rush from his wounded hands. Towards me.
If I allow him to, all those wounds of the past will be healed. Completely.
* * *
The dark times felt dark, so dark.
But in fact, they are…neutral. Seeds.
I can allow them to become bitter roots in me, tumours that will spread their spider tendrils through my brain, making me bitter and mean,
Or I can allow Christ’s light to transform those experiences, those memories into something different as a bulb becomes a tulip–who would have guessed?
Christ can heal the pain, heal the scar-tissue from those memories, and he will. But more, he can change them into something else, into blogs, and stories and poems, perhaps. Into wisdom.
I have known suffering. I have been acquainted with distress. And so I understand other people who suffer in the ways I have suffered.
I have suffered. I have survived. I have learned a toughness of mind and spirit. I have gained understanding.
I have suffered. I have survived. I have learned to trust God. I believe that God can mysteriously make things work out for good, converting our disadvantages to advantages.
And so I present the pain of the past to the Kindly Light which streams from Christ’s hands, and ask him to take those experiences and change their molecular structure, make them qualitatively different, change their water into wine, and feed five thousand from the bread of those tears.