Saturday, August 20, 2011

Facing it

Out of all the times I have been stung by a bee (4), it was never because I did something to make it mad or because I even knew it was near me and was swinging my arms trying to get it away from me. I was minding my own business when...bam!, there it was.

People talk about how as they get older, some allergies tend to die off and they become immune to things they were once allergic to. Others say that their allergies to things have gotten worse. I was about 3 when I encountered my first bee sting. I don't remember it really, but my mom says that my foot swelled up a little but I seemed to be fine. The last time I got stung, I was about 14 and my entire arm swelled up like a balloon and there was so much fluid in it I had to go to the doctor and receive a series needle pokes for Benadryl and draining. So I dare to say, I feel as though that particular allergy is getting worse over time.

Enter my fear of bees. I know that most of the time, if you don't bother them, they don't bother you. But, due to my past encounters of bees while minding my own business, I tend to forget about that rule and just try to avoid them at all costs. I guess you could say I have a slight fear of bees, mostly of the fact that if stung by one, I could face grave consequences and end up in an ER or have to shoot myself with an EpiPen. No thanks. I don't know that 100% for sure, but those are the thoughts that enter my mind when thinking of what could happen to me if stung by a bee.

Life has a lot of unknowns. Sometimes, it is the fear of the unknown that can cause us the most anxiety in our lives. I can relate the above situation to many circumstances in my life, both present and past, that have caused unnecessary angst in my life. I can also see how giving these circumstances up to the One who has control over all things has allowed me to have a peace and freedom that those who have also felt that peace which passes all understanding can relate to.

Four years ago on August 5th, I experienced a loss that I had not yet encountered in my life. At that time, I watched the person that I had spent the last year of my life with whither away and pass right before my eyes. I had never known grief like that before. I had known OF the Dark Place that people talk about, but I had not experienced the feelings associated with being in the Dark Place until that point. Losing someone you love, watching someone you know in a deep and emotionally intimate way pass from this life and enter into eternity, stings much more than a bee. It cuts you like a knife deep down to your core and exposes everything you never wanted anyone to see about you. It causes you to realize that all the things you thought you have control of, you never really did, and the things you wish you had back, you will never have again. It causes you to see pain and sorrow and grief in a totally different way. I became much more exposed to the loss of others, and felt deep emotional pain for them. I have read stories and listened to situations of others around me who have lost the one they love, people I have never even met, and it has driven me to tears for that person. There is a glimpse of that loss that I can relate to, and I know that feeling of complete emptiness after seeing death head on.

And then comes the fear. When you lose someone, no matter how good of a job you feel you have done at allowing yourself to grieve, praying to God that he would restore your wounds and feeling like you have somewhat come back to a place of real life, there is a lingering fear in the depth of your heart that stirs you like a wild wind. It makes you lose sleep at night, and most of all, it makes you build up a wall that China has nothing on.

At first, I thought that being alone was what God had planned for me, and that He would calm my thoughts and make me ok with being single for the rest of my life. Lots of people do it, and being married doesn't define who you are, I knew that. But deep down, I had to get real with my head that part of this facade that I was putting on was in fact of a ploy against myself, to set myself up so that I could not get hurt by losing someone else again. I distanced my relationships, so that a. either I couldn't get hurt or b. if I did lose them it wouldn't hurt as bad because I wasn't 100% in the game, so to speak. I quickly started to realize through a long devotional for about 6 months that this was not how God intended for me to live my life, and desired for me to allow Him to make a change in my heart so that I could fully love someone again.

Choice and free will are still somewhat mysterious to me. Had I not made the choice to start a new path to healing, I know my life would be different. But how, I will never know. But God gave us a choice, even though He already knows what we are going to choose, and continues to lay things out in our paths according to the choices we make. That's the part that blows my mind sometimes. I don't deserve the mercy, grace and blessings that God pours out on me even for the seemingly "good" choices I make in my life, and yet, He continues to lay them out in front of me anyway. I could have made a choice to allow fear to keep me from knowing what it means to love a person like you have never loved before. To miss a person when they are only 5 minutes away, and to wake up knowing that you have someone there who loves you even when you don't say the nicest things to them or when you don't exactly look like you won a beauty contest. When you lose someone, and you make the choice to love again, you gain so much more than a partner for life. And, you learn to cherish the smallest things you experience in your every day life because you know that those are the things that mean the most when you are with the person God has blessed you with to be able to love as long as you are on this earth, or as long as they are with you. I may have lost a friend 4 years ago, but by allowing God to heal the wounds of my heart and teach me what it means let go of the fears I had of losing someone and just loving as best as I possibly can as a human being, I gained a husband that I am more in love with than anyone I have ever known in my life.

That's what I got for facing my fear, here's to praying you are learning how to face yours.