As we head into the last day, how do I feel?
Partly, that words are not able to express where I am. A sense of needing to express it nevertheless. A huge sense of loss at the separating of the group. A warm sense from all the closeness. A strong sense of unexpected duty and call; and a real sense of anger and abandonment. I am very angry with some people.
I need to find some kind of therapeutic way in which to deal with that. I have no idea how to do that.
A sense of which things I use to protect myself from me, and of which things I must be mindful. A sense of incompleteness in the moving of my hands, of being a work in progress and probably, frustratingly, a sense of needing to wait. The time is not now for that work. But this time, this moment, this is my time, my kairos, and there is no going back from having set aside this opportunity – or from having taken it.
Who will I be? It seems very strange to be asking that.
I know I will be someone much more comfortable with uncertainty, but someone blessed and cursed with more certainty. I know I am someone who has a mission, a purpose, and this is a new concreteness. I don’t yet know how I will live that out, though I know I cannot afford to let go of it.
I believe I will be someone who is stronger and who is less alone; who is more aware of the blessings and gifts she is receiving, and who is more able to make use of them. Someone less isolated in my heart, though I may be increasingly isolated in my life. Someone who is very sad. Someone who feels shame, and needs to let go of the need to feel it.
I hope I will be someone who is free. I learned that freedom is a good thing; I need restriction and containment less than I thought I did. While I still value a framework, that is largely as protection, a wariness against the implosion of appropriate boundaries and values that can come with excess.
I am someone who is scarred, and not just scarred but also actively, currently wounded. I think I understand me a little better. I fear I also understand the task at hand a little better.
Someone who can pray better. Someone who is not afraid to be in that space of emptiness and two-way solitude with the God I find when I let myself be still inside.
Someone who wants and needs to be less afraid of myself; someone who recognises the responsibility I have to be myself; but also someone who is newly aware of why I’ve been hiding, of the damage I can cause and of the loneliness my hiding has made me feel.
I have found new peace within. That is what I feel. I fear losing it when I go back into the world, and I accept that it may be that my peace becomes something I see outside of me too.
I would like to share the peace, I would like to help, to make a difference. And I need to heal.
I hadn’t reckoned on the damagingness of the silence; of the obligation to mind silently the things I have seen which I wish I had not seen.
It isn’t safe to trust anyone; I feel bound to loneliness. I feel as though my life has been stolen by what has been done, and no-one in all the world knows it, or else it is invisible to them. So it must be with God that I wrestle, or my inner soul. I need to work these things out because they are tying me, are draining me, are pulling me back and keeping me away from and out of love.
So now we have named them, we can see what they are: they are Evil. They are Deception. They are Untruth.
It’s good to have found the ground on which to stand. Now, of course, I must forgive. Is it ok to be angry first? Do I have to be angry first?
And I’m back to the same question: if we forgive without recognition, without “justice”, we are not safe from future attacks, so then we build protections and barriers and soon we are the perpetrators of these Sins and others are building barriers against us. So how does forgiveness work, actually? I don’t think I understand.
I don’t think I realised how vulnerable I am.
What are we doing, as a church, when someone amongst us (and presumably, many amongst us) can feel so alone and afraid in our midst?
Why don’t we all just be a bit more open and kind with each other? Is it so complicated, really?
I’ve been sitting for over an hour, wrapped up in two blankets, shivering. I know that the building and the room are warm. Parts of me are warm. But my extremities, particularly my right hand and my right foot, felt like ice for the longest time. They are warmed up enough now that I can type. I still feel the chill down my back, through my shoulders all the way to my feet. It is as though I am wrapped, constrained, in cold.
This happens. This is my body’s response to stress – fight or flight – and, given that I’m forcing myself to do neither, by strength of will, my body’s trying to shut down to protect me from whatever it is.
So what is the big problem? I’m not sure.
I felt rejected. I felt ashamed of myself. I felt as though there may not be cause for hope. And above all, as though I must apparently be so different from everyone else, that I can never fit or be at peace. I don’t suppose that’s really true, but that is how it feels, and looked.
My responses were not ‘normal’; I just responded. I didn’t think it through or try to be clever. I answered the question with my body.
And that distressed and disturbed people. My moving into their space, my craving closeness, felt to them aggressive and weird.
Is this because I am aggressive and weird? Is it because somehow I massively miscommunicate? Is it because I behaved inappropriately? Did I do something ‘wrong’?
So distressed were they by my hiding in the crowd, I had to go back to my seat, alone, isolated, exposed…equal. Adult.
I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to be held.
And suddenly as I said that, the walls came crowding round me: I am so very much alone, almost all of the time. In work, at home, in my family, in my spirituality, in my ‘love’ relationships.
The question is: why? Am I alone because I am rejected? Just because of circumstances? Because I isolate myself?
Probably a mixture, right?
I am aware this evening that my craving nearness, my moves towards, are often threatening and intrusive for others. That they don’t want me near.
I wonder if it might be because they’re hiding from me, rather than the other way round?
So this self-proclaimed “people person”, the “shy extrovert” suddenly feels like a cold, cruel, corporate hard-man, a Frank Cross, a Scrooge. A bitter, lonely person who pushes everyone away because she is lonely. Can that be what is happening, what has been happening all this time?
If I stopped wanting people, if I stopped moving towards, maybe they’d move into the space I left. So then maybe I’d be less…alone. But, I wouldn’t be me, and I wouldn’t be happy. I need to be in that space, that is my space. Why?
Isolated. Angry. Aggressive. Alone.
And yet held.
And so, so cold. Shivering.