It’s the last day of the year…the day we inevitably glance back, remember January, compare it to December, and review various points in between. One year ago I was in Indianapolis, privileged to lead a marvelous group of college students in worship at Salt, Great Lakes Chi Alpha‘s biggest annual event. Well. That’s where I was geographically speaking.
I was also seeking God for some answers. Heaven had been silent for a while so I knew I needed to do something differently. A friend recommended I set aside a block of time and focus on praying and listening. I think I was able to carve out four hours. When it came time to report back to my friend, I remember saying that I’d need a lot more than four hours to hear anything from God because I was just so numb.
It started years ago. I’d been hurt enough times I decided I needed to figure out a way to cope…to move through the hurt and still function. That’s when I discovered a little internal switch. Suddenly I had control over my emotions. If it wasn’t convenient for me to feel the way I was feeling, I shut them off. I viewed it as a strength; in spite of being a girl, I’d managed to quell the emotional roller coaster. The trouble is I never actually dealt with my feelings once that switch was flipped and eventually, I no longer had control. The switch became stuck in the off position and the numbness set in.
When you’re in pain, numbness can be a gift. Anyone who’s undergone a surgical or dental procedure can attest to that. Medication wipes out agony and ache, but takes the pleasant sensations as well…a tickle, a held hand, a pat on the back, a hug…if you’re numb the best you can manage is to use your other senses to infer what’s happening. I didn’t feel much pain anymore, but I also didn’t feel much joy.
Early this year, I got a new boss who recognized the problem pretty rapidly. We set in place a plan to get me feeling again, the most pivotal step being a visit to an incredible doctor in Florida who addressed physical, emotional, and spiritual things within me and set me on a new course. I can’t properly express my gratefulness to the people who invested in me, in unsticking that switch and teaching me better ways to handle my emotions. Thanks to their time, effort, and support I am ending this year in a vastly different place than where I began.
Remember the movie The Holiday? When I first saw it in the theater, I most identified with Kate Winslett‘s character…mistreated by those she loves wholeheartedly. Once the numbness set in I moved to Cameron Diaz, with walls around her heart so thick and heavy that she’s unable to cry. Now…I’m full on Jude Law: I’m a weeper. Movies, grandmas, children, greeting cards…you name it, it’s probably inspired a few tears for me this year. And I love it because it’s authentic and alive. The ability to navigate my emotions without wallowing in the valleys is an incredible strength that I intend to continually nourish and explore.
2011 was full of challenges, but it was also full of triumphs. I’ll bid the year a fond farewell tonight at midnight, but I’m certain it’s one that will stand out in memory as the ending of mediocre living and the real beginning of the adventure that is my life.
Happy New Year!