Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving [part 2] Thanks Don Miller, for the questions...

I didn't get to post last night. I'm kind of glad. Don Miller tweeted this:
"How can the suffering you've experienced become an unintended blessing? What's good about the pain you've known? Steal your life back."
my post kind of is my "long winded" answer...

Perhaps the strangest angle on Thanksgiving…

…is to be thankful for those dark times you lived through.
Even though it seems so very outside of normal. When I told someone [or was it two different close friends?] about the abuse, not surprisingly, they responded with “I wish it never happened to you.” What was different was my response. “Are you sure? Would I be the person you like/ enjoy …if I hadn’t been through this?”
This can lead to a place where the idea of “it’s not fair” comes into play. As I’ve become fond of saying: “life wasn’t fair to it’s author…what do you think your odds are?” …I like the phrase, don’t get me wrong, I just think we should say it with a happier Vocal Inflection. I’ve followed that with: “If life were truly fair. We should all pack up & go to hell, right now, all at the same time…each by ourselves. THAT would be fair”. [thankfully God “isn’t fair”]
Getting back to my questions.
Are you sure? Would I be the person you like/know now/ enjoy …if I hadn’t been through this?
This may be the toughest post to read of them all. See, all of my experiences helped to shape me into who you now know. Helped to shape –not DEFINE. What I’ve lived through isn’t my definition. However it does help you to understand why I care about people. Why I try to be careful with them.
Anyway, before I stray too far off the topic of thankfulness. It is possible to be thankful for the dark times [pages/chapters] of your story. It is in these dark times that we learn about ourselves. In these times of desperation that God stops being a “fuzzy notion”, & becomes some ONE. Someone who will be there, in the middle of the mess. God becomes a bomb disposal person. A clean up/ restoration specialist. THE greatest triage doctor EVER. The Bible becomes a great deal more than just “the book I own with the thinnest pages”. The Bible becomes… somehow… a blanket… & a castle. A sword…& a shield. I think one of my favorite Lord of the Rings quotes fits here the best. For me, this quote is always about the Bible. Galadriel: “May it be a light unto you in dark places, when all other lights…go out.” It has been. It’s been all that & so very much more. I’ve probably said this before, I’ll say it again, I gave up telling God that I’ll only listen to him when he speaks to me in “Christian” music/books/radio/tv shows. The reason? Lets face it. I don’t listen very well. So I now beg God to help me listen to him when he wants to tell me something. I let him pick where, & when, & what he wants to speak to me through. Listening, though, is only the beginning. Usually there follows an action. Which becomes the follow up prayer. “Please help me to act on what you are telling me.”
Having been treated so cruelly & violently, I care about people. I value them. You matter. No, really, I’m serious. If I matter…so do you.
"How can the suffering you've experienced become an unintended blessing? What's good about the pain you've known? Steal your life back." 
The short answer is: God.
As unfathomable as it has been for so long, sharing the fact that I was abused allows for 2 things. Sympathy to other who have been abused. Hopefully hope to others. I lived through this, maybe you can live through your darkness too. Maybe, just maybe, us sharing our stories with each other will help each of us to grow towards healing in a better, stronger way. Though I still scratch my head about the oddness of my life story. The “Heaven & Hell” of it. I’m glad for both parts. How both parts played out in my growing up. I’ve felt like my story was boring [when I had suppressed the abuse so much I forgot it happened]. Then the awfulness of realizing just how broken & messed up I was. That was part of my story, not the end of it.
So I’m thankful that I lived through all of the dark parts of my story. I wasn’t always. I am now, though. I’ve learned about God. Not maybe the most fun way to learn about God, but I’ll take what I can get.
I’ve learned about myself. It is through all these dark stories that I’ve come to the place where I write. I write poems. My enjoyment of photographs, how that is such a healing thing for me. Hiking, being alone walking through the woods. I never would have done that, if I hadn’t become so desperate. Which is so strange. Because it’s so healing, energizing, calming for me. It helps me “untie the knots” inside. So my pain has helped me. I still don’t know that I’d volunteer for it. Yet, I’m very thankful for all that I have learned & gained from it.
And I do like the quote from the forthcoming movie TheBook Thief.
“when life robs you… sometimes, you have to rob it back.”

Happy Thanksgiving,
May His grace drip from your fingers,

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