Processing Pain and Finding Hope on a Hopeless day

I had a long season in my life where I avoided pain.  My motto being, “Can’t change this, so let’s just move on”.  Always the positive one.  Always the one that knows all things work together for good. That worked for a significant period of time. Until it didn’t.

The weird thing about processing pain is that it happens at the most inopportune times and it is often triggered by something completely unrelated.  I fell apart when a friend of a friend died.  I could not pull myself together.  I cried in my closet for what felt like a year and processed years of grief in torments of tears.  Alone. Not letting anyone know what was going on.  And in that processing, I realized that I had spent a lot of years just going through the motions of life not really feeling much at all.  Emotions are funny that way.  The processing works, until it doesn’t.

Today I woke up and watched the video of Jacob Blake being shot.  I had put it off for a couple of days.  Now I know why.  7 shots. In the back. With his young children in the car. My heart is so heavy I cannot breathe.

Sometimes getting my thoughts out on paper helps me process. This is me. White girl. Processing. But it isn’t working today.

I posted his photo on Instagram and wrote: “My heart is heavy.  So unbelievably heavy.  7 shots in the back. How does this continue to happen? My heart is heavy for my boys, my heart is heavy for my man and his kids, my heart is heavy for my friends of color, my heart is heavy for Jacob’s family and his children who have now experienced unbelievable trauma, my heart is heavy for this world.   This cannot be just another hashtag.”

The writing isn’t helping.

I am reaching out to my dear friends of color.  What can I say to you? You have been carrying this pain your entire lives.  And it is exhausting.  I have only been carrying a piece of it since I brought my boys home and entered into a bi-racial relationship.  I am exhausted and I am listening to you.  Lament. Broken. Loss of hope. Pain. Fear.  These are your common themes. While much of the world moves on with their daily activities you sit in this, surrounded by a fog that won’t lift, while others, right next to you, sit in the sun.

I feel immobilized, paralyzed, stuck.  I can offer an ear.  I can listen to my dear friends process or I can just sit with them.  I am trying to find Jesus in all of this. But today, I have nothing, because in my honest place, even Jesus’s words and actions feel like they are not going to change people’s minds about what is going on in this country. Blasphemous words for sure. But it has become too political.  It has become too “what about this” and “if he just did this” and, and, and.  It has become about all the noise that surrounds it. It has become too common. As a Christian I am usually able to find hope in all situations. And as a blogger I should be offering that hope as a panacea for the pain.  But I am not there today.

I am a big fan of Lecrae.  His recent album “Restoration” is a deep dive into his world of pain and healing.  In an interview I listened to, he had some powerful things to say about walking through things with God rather than God magically fixing them. I was thinking about that in light of my boys healing but today it meant something different.  He said “As I navigate my struggles, I am realizing that restoration is ongoing. It’s not a season, it’s a lifestyle. Restoration is choosing to walk with God continually as you walk through a world with deep rooted, damaged flesh.“  Deep rooted damaged flesh.  That feels about right.

Maybe it is ok to sit with the pain today.  Maybe that is what will push me towards action.

So today I will sit with anyone who wants to process.  And I will go to the place where I can find some peace and read about lament and broken and loss of hope and pain and fear. They are all in the Bible, which means the answers to them are all there too. It may not fix anything today, but I know that is where I can begin to find healing and maybe some answers.

What I also know is that doing it alone is probably not the best answer.  We need our people.  So I offer myself, my heart, my ears.  I will be your people.  I will help you process.  I will speak up. I will fight.  And maybe in the sitting and listening and being alongside, we can find some hope.

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