In my family, we love to laugh. You could often find one of us making a stupid face in a picture or pulling some ridiculous prank on someone else. We love humor and find it essential to our every day life. We find it so essential, that in my house, you even laughed away your pain.
As I told you in my story, I grew up with an ill father. There was not one specific disease that caused his health issues but rather a domino affect of many little issues adding up to make him a fairly sick man. From the time I was little, he was permanently disabled and didn’t work. Before I was in school full time, my days would be spent going with him to various doctor appointments and coloring behind the nurses desk while he got looked at. And every time there was a new ailment or another surgery, we would go into it all smiles and joking our way through the end.
At first I felt ok with this idea. I mean, I wasn’t taking anything too seriously, and never attempting to let the thought that something really may be wrong enter my mind. I was being light-hearted, right? No one wanted a debbie-downer, and my family made sure we weren’t those people. By the time I had reached high school, I was so good at laughing it all away, people thought nothing ever bothered me. That is until one summer morning that I will never forget.
I was in my room doing who knows what, when I hear my brother yelling at me from across the house. He tells me my dad has fallen down from a seizure (not an abnormal occurrence) and that he was not breathing (not normal). I called 911 and was trying as calmly as I could to give my brother CPR instructions as we waited for the paramedics to arrive. I remember them reviving my dad and whisking him away to the hospital as my brother and I followed in the car.
By the time my mother had arrived from work, my dad was perking up and things had settled some. I was doing the usual bit of making jokes and keeping everyone happy. I was just fine until I saw my brother from the corner of my eye. He was standing off to the side outside of the hall with my mom, and he was sobbing. For the first time I saw someone in my family truly allow the weight of their pain to be seen and shown to others. Right then it was as if all the dams I had built up to hold back my pain came crashing down and I allowed myself to openly weep as well. In that moment I experienced just how beautiful and freeing it can be to show people that you are broken.
I am obviously getting better at expressing my pain (i.e. this blog), but it is not a natural process by any means. I still seek help from a counselor. I will still clam up, make a joke and shove my pain away. But then there are the moments of release. Moments when I let go of the hurt and let the love and grace of Jesus in. And so far, I have never regretted a single one of those moments.
I know so many of you have told me that you just can’t do it. You can’t let down your walls, feel the hurt inside you, and set it free. But I am here to tell you that you can. Jesus already sees it. He’s already felt your pain, bore your pain, and forgiven your pain. And He is there right beside you just waiting in anxious anticipation to let Him in. To let Him do what He does best and lavish unspeakable amounts of grace and healing upon you. Oh yes, feeling it will hurt, but then comes freedom. And who doesn’t want to be free? I know I do.