“What if psychiatrists came up with a different language to describe the suffering of people who troop into their consulting rooms every day? Instead of diagnosing a young woman with ‘borderline-personality disorder,’ how about ‘lost in the realm of the fluttering leaves’? Instead of ‘depression,’ how about ‘buried by avalanche, still breathing’? And, just as the Inuit have different words for snow on the ground and snow in the air and snow that drifts, maybe we could have different words for tears: tears we’ll forget by tomorrow, tears we never cried but should have…”. (Sy Safransky’s Notebook in the June 2010 issue of The Sun Magazine)
I woke up this morning with a great, Christmassy idea in my head: a plan to go to the Christmas markets. I picked up my phone, googled and quickly found a website with pictures of inner cities, bedecked in twinkly lights and ferns a nd in my head, I was instantly transported back to the worst time of my life. To a time when human words like ‘lost’ and ‘devastated’ didn’t really do the situation any justice. That’s why I like the quote above; ‘buried by avalanche, still breathing’.
The ‘what’ isn’t important, but it’s fair to say that my life had suddenly imploded and I found myself wandering around the Christmas markets in a European city with my family. I was nodding dutifully at the prettiness of the surroundings, but inside I was overwhelmed with pain – the ferocity of which I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have never, ever felt as bad as that in my entire life. I can still feel the twinges of it now, if I think about it too much.
So, I won’t, except to say it consumed my every waking and sleeping thought – there was no getting-away.
But this isn’t a ‘feel sorry for me’ post; I write this for a reason.
Today when I looked at those Christmas market pictures, even though they reminded me of a very dark place, I can look into the abyss from the top and be incredibly, overwhelmingly grateful that I’m no longer clinging desperately to the inside. I’m on the outside, looking in, feeling again, without-a-suitably-big-enough-adverb-grateful, that God kept me, held me together, through it all.
At the time, I was besieged by questions;
Why did I not see this coming?
Where was God? Why didn’t He stop it?
What was the reason? WAS there a reason?
That night, after the Christmas market jaunt, we went back to the flat and put on a DVD, which was lying on a shelf; Louis Giglio, how great is our God.
In it, Louie talked passionately about a God who holds us together, when everything has been pulled apart. I watched it and a little part of my brain was reminded yet again that He does hold us together. He is the glue even when everything else is broken.
I didn’t get answers, but I know that He was there and when every last bit of me felt shattered, stretched and without hope, that glue ultimately kept me safe.
Looking back now, I also know that while there are no words to adequately describe extreme emotional pain, there are also far too few words to adequately sum up the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and hope that comes, when you realise… that you were indeed ‘held together’.
Louie Giglio explains it best;