Friday, March 7, 2008

A box, buried deep...

“Have you ever tried to keep a beach ball under water?”

Those were words from my counselor this week.

Especially in deep water, it is nearly impossible to keep both your head out of the water and the ball under the surface. She asked me that after I told her the image I was getting in my head. I explained that I felt I was looking down into a big hole or pit, and at the bottom was this big box. I knew it had to be opened, but I just couldn’t do it. She asked me if I needed to, and after some thinking, I said, “No, God will for me. Jesus will be with me and help me.”

I told her I felt like I had been sitting on the lid of that box trying to keep it closed for a long time.

She looked at me with a rather sad smile and said, “It takes a lot of energy doesn’t it?” I nodded, feeling the tears well up.

Nothing major has escaped from that box in years. Every once in a while, something will sneak out around the edges and come to the surface, sometimes it has been opened a crack for brief periods. Or, someone has caught me at the right time, before I was able to stuff something down into that box, and I have broken down, and then later stuffed it in the box. Those are the times when my emotions have been very raw, unprocessed, when I have survived more out of instinct than through actual thought.

My counselor gave me an image to think on this week. She said to imagine that she and I covered up that box and filled the whole pit with dirt. She said that it is completely covered up now, and can’t open. It isn’t covered over and abandoned and forgotten, but it is buried, with us knowing it is there, and we will uncover it next week.

When we looked at the time after we talked a bit about that box, she realized that there was no way we were going to be able to process through it all in the time we had left. She didn’t want to keep me hanging, and leave me with unfinished “stuff” hanging over my head for a whole week, thus the reason for burying the box. We are going to meet for 1.5 hours next week Tuesday, rather than our normal hour, just to make sure we have enough time to work it.

I am scared. I have to admit it. I really am. These are emotions and hurts, the “icky” emotions that none of us like to go through. I have buried them down so deeply that I haven’t really “felt” them except as I was handling them to get them into the box. I don’t want to deal with them, I don’t want to at all. I am fighting against the idea of just walking away, leaving the box buried and never going there again.

However, I know that won’t be healing. Something will eventually burst out again like it did this past October, and I will be a mess again. I know I can’t keep that up. If I have help opening the box and dealing with what we find inside, I can work through the hurt, acknowledge it, grieve through it, and then lay it aside, unburied. It will no longer have the hold over me that it does. I will be walking in more freedom.

At one point, my counselor said that she felt like we were coming up against a block and she just didn’t quite know what it was. Those words again… coming up against a block… I have heard those from other counselors. A block. A barrier. But I have to believe that it is one that God knows, and that He can move. When it is time. When He is ready. When I am ready.

Is that block partially me fighting against my own healing? Because if I heal, won’t that mean I won’t be getting any more attention? I feel like I am right on the line where I could tip either way. Keep healing, and grow into freedom, or just stop. It seems so wrong to even write that… because, in my head, I know the right answer is to press on. I really do KNOW that, but feeling it is another matter. The part of me that is responsible will keep me going on, because that is what is expected of me. No matter how much I might want to curl up and give up, I will keep going.

That is probably why I ended up being voluntarily admitted to the hospital in October. I had too much of a sense of responsibility to go through with taking the pills like I had planned. I sat staring at the pill bottles in front of me, knowing I had enough to end my life. I sat late into the night, into the next day. I put them away, only because I didn’t know who would find me, and I didn’t want to be caught in time.

I told my husband the next evening and later my doctor, and within 20 hours of talking to my doctor, I was in the hospital. Safe, but disgusted with myself that I either couldn’t hold it together enough to keep from getting to this point, or couldn’t do it right and just finish it.

It’s back to that box again. Maybe that is what the block is. Is it the box of emotions that I have been sitting on? Is it really my fighting against opening that box? Honestly being afraid to face those emotions, because I know a taste of what they were like when I put them in, and I just don’t want to handle them again?

Either way, maybe I am the block. I am blocking myself, whether I resist healing out of fear of a lack of attention, or whether I resist dealing with my emotions out of fear of experiencing them.

God, help me get out of my own way. Help me step aside and let You lead. Keep me from running ahead of You, or running away from You. Remove the blocks from this path You have me on. Remove the fear that is holding me back from Your will for me in this life. Wash me in the peace and love of Your presence. Use my pain, my experiences and the things You are teaching me in the process, to bless others, encourage them, and let them know they aren’t alone in their struggles, questions, heartaches. And Jesus, do what it takes in our lives to ease the pain in our hearts. Help us to live, focused on You, so that the things of earth will grow dim in comparison. Amen and Amen.

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