Sunday, April 13, 2008

The War Begins

I wasn't planning on posting another entry until you had a chance to post your first, but the intensity of what I’ve been experiencing over the past two days has left me in desperate need for some form of expression or outlet. As you know, a few weeks ago I submitted my Personal Position paper for my Marriage and Family Therapy class. It was one of the more difficult papers to write considering the task was to summarize our experience of our family of origin and how it has served to develop our style of relating in a mere five pages. We both know how difficult it is for me to be that succinct, especially considering the drama of my life. As difficult as the paper was to write, it was even more difficult turning it in. I wasn’t able to put my finger on the source of my fear in turning the paper in – it wasn’t fear of a grade (this one is only pass or fail). I felt confident that I had labored well in the telling of my story.

Left unable to define the source of my anxiety, I waited expectantly for Allender’s response for just under four weeks. Somehow on Friday night the anticipation of receiving his feedback on my story surfaced in a dream and I awoke Saturday and immediately checked my email. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, he had sent me an email indicating that he had completed his commentary and that I could find my paper in my student file on Monday but that I could also have his audio comments emailed to me. I responded immediately and requested that he send over the mp3 file at his convenience. I checked my email about every 15 minutes after that, and in less than an hour I spotted it in my inbox. There it was- the feedback I had been rather anxiously awaiting.

Remembering the personal nature of what I had written, I began frantically searching for my headphones so that I wouldn’t have to worry about the material being presented within earshot of Brian and the girls. Once I got situated and the file was downloaded, I took a deep breath and hit the play button – there was no going back now. I think I cried my entire way through all 9 minutes and 31 seconds of the recording. He didn’t say anything absolutely and undeniably prophetic, though a voice of truth he most certainly was, but there was something about his acknowledgment of my heartache that unleashed a flood of emotions. There is something deeply powerful that occurs when someone else is able to read your story, which has been written in your true voice, and is able to see even more of you than you had intended to reveal.

Later in the afternoon I took the girls to this lake just a few miles from our apartment. It was one of the most beautiful days we’ve experienced since being here. The sky was clear (can you believe it?), Mount Rainier was shining in all her glory and it was nearly 75 degrees. I laid a blanket out across the sand and sat there, stripped down to my tank top (again…can you believe it?), watching the girls play for hours in the sand under the warm sun, all the while aware of the reality that something radical was shifting within me. It was the oddest combination of contentment and deep sorrow. I do not think I have ever experienced anything quite like it. The process of naming what has occurred within the story of our lives and naming who we have become and how we have chosen to respond catapults us into the war for our very souls. In those peaceful moments, I was painfully aware of the implications of the war I was now choosing to enter into. I was baffled at God’s absolutely magnificent way of revealing to me that he was with me as I was taking this giant leap. I could feel him inside and out. Actually it was more like I felt the warmth from the sun as it strove to affect every sensory receptor available on the surface of my skin. Upon warming the entire surface of my body, it began to penetrate deeper and deeper into the very core. God’s warmth and light was encompassing me from the outside in.

All fear dissipated in those remarkable moments. I am still very aware of the war, the struggle and the battle for truth that lies before me, but I am not alone.

~S

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