This autumn day
This autumn light
My eyes delight
With colours soft but bright.
All my senses are alive
There are pleasures all around
A touch, a smell, a taste, a sound.
But it is deep in my soul
Where I sense the best of all
The joy and peace
of being loved
and being whole.
Ears, eyes, tongue, skin, nose: These are the sensors of the body. We can experience the world around through smell, touch, taste, sight, sound. We also have sensors in our soul where thoughts, emotions and decisions dwell. Then there are the sensors of the spirit where wisdom and truth enter to break down defences and reveal pretences.
One would hardly judge or criticize one who has lost or damaged eye sight for bumping into others or knocking something over and it breaks. However, a lot of souls are wandering all around with their invisible love sensors broken or damaged. While their souls starve and continue to receive even the best love messages distorted, the world remains a threatening place. It makes for an anxious life when every relationship bears the threat of judgement and consequent rejection.
But there is hope, there is healing! It takes time and courage to dig up the root and to understand. It takes courage to forgive, wisdom to change old ways and discipline to retrain thoughts and emotions. It also takes a lot of help and love from others who can see past all the distortions. The journey of help is for the brave and selfless, ones who have been saved by mercy and grace and kindness. The hope that is carried by a wounded soul is often simply this: to know and enjoy true friendship.
Today I am grateful for every friend in my life and every kindness shown to me by others.
I posted the above recently and then heard about a campaign called ‘IAMWHOLE’ on the radio just a couple of days later. The campaign is for the destigmatization of mental health difficulties in young people. Wow! This is so necessary, even for the sake of raising awareness. Back in the days when I was young a campaign on recognition would have been the appropriate campaign. Whatever my difficulties were when I was growing up, they were real and they affected me for most of my adult life. The fact that I never owned a diagnosis but struggled through insomnia, anorexia, low self-esteem and insecurity, low mood and loneliness shows how these difficulties can be seen as ‘normal’ and that they can all be overcome! I read through the document produced by the Researchers and was struck by the recurring comments of those suffering of feeling lonely, excluded and sad. When there is sadness the worst that can happen is isolation. This is a time when the individual needs to be included, embraced and heard. That in itself can be all that is needed to open the door to restored mental health. Let’s acknowledge that life is difficult and sometimes we feel sad. Yes, let’s have the conversation and let’s remember how far a little bit of genuine kindness can go.
I consider the animated movie INSIDE OUT to be genius! It tells the story of a family relocation with Riley, a 12 year old girl, as main character. Riley, a happy, well-adjusted young girl experienced a significant life event that is not too uncommon. However, it could have set her life on a dark course. She had lost so much, but felt that it was not ok to be sad. It was required of her to adjust and to be the happy girl. She was struggling to even validate her own sad emotions and in suppressing sadness through a pretense of happiness, fear and anger took over. The movie goes on to show how her personality starts to break down and how isolation and misunderstanding sets in. Thankfully, there is resolution. She admits her sadness, she admits her loss and she is embraced by two understanding parents who stopped and listened, who allowed her her own authentic feelings and simply let her cry. It does not help to deny ourselves our feelings and neglect the processes necessary for healing. Those feeling never go away and time, I learnt, does not heal. Doing the right things with the time we are given, that heals. Whatever we do with time can make things better or worse. The passage of time is necessary for the process to take place, but it is not the process. I deeply dislike the saying ‘Time heals’. It simply doesn’t, especially not with unvalidated loss and no process of grief. I had difficulties as a child and I received no professional help. I did well enough and became an independent adult who had a lot of counselling over the years. For my marriage, for myself, for my bout of acute anxiety, for the babies I lost. It was not till I was in my forties that I got to the loss associated with family relocation. There was a deep root of pain with suppressed anger. It was so deeply buried that it took me by surprise! No wonder the lingering identity crisis. It was my norm for at least a couple of decades to be confused and uncertain even about who I am, what I like, what I would like to do with my life. From that place also so much fear and so much despair. But what a relieve to finally understand and acknowledge my feelings.
So this post is to add something from me to this important conversation. I want to encourage people to speak, to listen, to be kind, to seek help and to be help. The post would not be complete without acknowledging God my Father, Jesus Christ who rescued me and the Holy Spirit who is always with me. He is the one who ultimately gave me the truth to know and the freedom that flowed from knowing it. He also gives me the courage to keep on knowing the truth and not turn away, thinking that I can pretend a way around it. Well, this I hope at least!!