I’ve always been really sensitive. My parents (God bless them) had to raise the girl who cried wolf daily, but she didn’t know she was crying wolf. The wolf seemed so real to her. I was often sad or hurt or feeling something and feeling it deeply. I imagine that raising that sort of kid gets really exhausting and I think for survival purposes my parents just learned to sort of tune me out. When I was tuned out I came to believe a few lies about myself. First, I believed that I could not trust my own feelings because my reactions were usually overreactions. Second, I believed that there was something innately wrong with me. Third, I believed my feelings were an inconvenience to the people around me. “Diana, could we, like, not bring this up again? Let’s talk about happy things.”
I’m working on dismantling those lies and trusting my feelings and my instincts. I tend to put shame on top of whatever emotion I’m feeling and I want to stop doing that. I’m also learning that I do not need to act on every single emotion. This one is super hard for me (as is evidenced by my Facebook timeline). Sometimes the right choice is to feel the feeling, sit in the discomfort and do nothing. I suck at doing nothing with my feelings. Suck.
A Hard Year for the Feelers
This year has been a doozie for the deep feelers. There’s a freaking pandemic, someone said something about murder hornets, it’s an election year and it feels like, for the first time, we are really listening to black voices. (I know many of you have been really active and vocal on these injustices for a while, but I’m ashamed to admit I’ve ignored and denied these issues my whole life so this is a huge educational mountain for me to climb, and I’m just getting started.) Anyway, it’s alot and I don’t know why but right now, more than ever before in my life, my tears flow easily and quickly. You should know that I’ve always been a crier, but I’m on a whole different level right now. The tears flow and they flow and they floooooow. I don’t remember the last day I went without crying.
A guy I don’t even know was in an accident and sustained a traumatic brain injury and for two months every night I laid in bed reading his progress update and sobbing. I sob because it’s hard for him and because it’s unfair. I sob because I’m sorry he has to go through this and I sob because his wife must be struggling. I sob because he has come so far. I sob because he is a literal miracle. I sob for his children and I sob for his parents and I sob for God. I sob for all of it.
I watch a movie and I sob. I see an Instagram story and I sob. I see my children hugging and I sob. The tears come and they don’t stop and I am overwhelmed by all of it. Everything is beautiful and everything is heartbreaking and it’s a lot right now.
I feel everything. Which says a lot because I always feel everything. But, this (everything going on lately), is feeling times infinity. If you’re wondering how I’m handling it, the answer is not great. I get really upset at myself for being this type of person and I wonder why in the heck God made me this way. I imagine my life would be at least a little easier if I were the type of woman who barely ever cries or who sees the bright side of things or pulls up her boot straps and turns the day around or whatever it is these easy breezy people do.
The best way I can describe it right now is that maybe God is breaking my heart for the things that break His and, let me just tell you, there are a lot of things that break His. I can barely take a deep breath because it all feels so heavy–too heavy. I am carrying tension and sadness in my body. I mean that literally. My face is breaking out, my hair is graying faster than it ever has before, I can’t breathe deeply and my eyes are always on high alert ready to cry at the drop of a hat.
It’s annoying that this is the work God is doing in me. Why couldn’t He, like, do the work of giving me great skin or a flat stomach or fine tune my writing skills? I know this work is valuable even though it’s hard. I know that with suffering and sadness there is spiritual growth. Right now the cross I’m carrying is every cross everyone else is carrying and that’s so many crosses. I’m moving through life like an exposed nerve. Everything bumps up against me and I feel joy and sadness and happiness and grief and I feel all of it all the way. That’s what I’m being invited into right now and, unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to turn down the invitation. I’ve tried.
I’m trying to lean in to the blessing that is being able to cry with someone, really with them. What a blessing to be the spiritual Simon. That’s what I’m called to right now. I didn’t get to pick. It chose me. Maybe you’re feeling extra sensitive these days, too. Or maybe you’re wondering what the heck I’m even talking about. I’m going to be really honest with you and tell you that I feel absolutely foolish typing these words because how much of a weak little baby do you have to be to sob into your hands for what’s happening to someone else? Can you imagine if it were happening to me? I would be dead right now.
I hope in this heartbreak I learn to lean in to the pain and learn from it. I hope to learn from people who are nothing like me or who disagree with me. I hope, more than anything, that God peels back the curtain a bit more and allows me to see people as they really are–made in His image, the body of Christ. Isn’t that the whole point of Christianity anyway?