- Losing a sister to suicide
- Having a granddaughter born severely handicapped
- Acknowledging that my sixth grade male teacher molested the girl students and how that affected my psyche
- Thinking I don't believe in divorce, but paying for my daughter's
- Experiencing church leaders' rejection for standing for what's right
- Having a sister turn against me because I set healthy boundaries
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The next phrase in The Shack that caught my attention enough to want to post about is toward the bottom of page 12. "I will tell you honestly that being a part of this story has affected me deep inside, in places I had never been before and didn't even know existed."
That phrase or sentence caught my attention and gave me pause.
Somebody famous, I can't remember who, said one time that the longest journey anyone will take is the journey inside and not too many choose to take that journey.
I like the quote from Young, the author of The Shack, because it reminds me of those deep inside places I have been. I was chatting with a very dear friend recently who was telling me that every time he's sure he's opened himself up to what he needs to learn and it's a deep lesson, soon thereafter he finds another entire room he didn't even know existed where the door needed to be opened. I liked that analogy.
Young's statement helped me rethink some of the very, very hard experiences in life that spurred me on my inside journey and helped me discover my own inside places or rooms. Some of those included:
Okay. I'll stop there. This could get depressing. =)
Each one of these experiences caused me great distress and anguished questioning. But each one, when worked through opened me up to empathy, sympathy, and understanding of others who might be experiencing similar emotions and events.
For example, losing a sister to suicide was devastating, and I learned how hard it is for people to support and encourage the survivors. I now know how to hug and empathize with suicide surviving family members. That inside room was hard to acknowledge and then air out.
Having a handicapped granddaughter, as much as it hurt in the beginning, has brought unbelievably wonderful changes in me. That inside room was pretty tightly locked, even padlocked. I steered clear of handicapped people and unknowingly had prejudices. One cerebral palsied young man in one of our churches spotted that in me and worked on me and with me to help me overcome that, even though I was not very willing. I would actually start sweating when I would see him racing on his crutches to get to me. I couldn't understand his speech and it made me so uncomfortable. He helped me a lot. We even went on a "date" about which he bragged to everyone in the church.
But the life of our granddaughter has changed me major from the inside out. The way she's been treated and the way people stare and the way people avoid her really hurts. But can I blame them? That's the way I was before the gift of having her was given to me. That room inside me is open and full of sunshine!
I could easily take many experiences in my life and remember how hard that journey was and how difficult the bumps along the way. I did and do get sidetracked, but I do know that no matter the life experience, each is another opportunity for discovering an inside room or place that is ready to be enjoyed.
I'll close with this: I was walking with Sierra, one of our granddaughters, when she was about 5 or 6. We went to a nearby park and found a wooden bridge that took us back into some woods. There were high weeds and bugs and scary stuff to a little girl. She held my hand tighter and moved closer. I was trying to be positive and said the things you say as Grams. Sierra looked up at me and said, "Grams, this is an adventure, isn't it?"
I thought that was perfect. She was scared. She wasn't sure. But she had my hand and apparently she felt safe. She had picked up on my being positive and decided this could be an adventure.
My mantra since then has been, life is an adventure. And today I will add that discovering new places within, though they can be very scary, can add spice to our life adventure and our journey within.