Veronique’s Life Adventures, Continued

At this moment, I am sitting on a barstool without a backrest at a high counter with a table easel to put my work on because it hurts to bend forward and write like a normal human being. I am wearing a brace that goes around my neck and torso. The skin on my jaw and chin is red and irritated and on the verge of becoming a raw wound because of the brace. My back did not take into account when it fractured that I am in the last semester of my Honours year with four huge essays, two huge tests, and a giant thesis still before me. It apparently didn’t think things through properly. The horse that threw me off also did not take any of this into consideration (thanks a lot, Lady).

But. This is life, isn’t it? Things like this don’t happen if you’re just spending your life sitting on the couch. This happened because I am living. I am doing things. I am making my life as adventurous and full as I can. And that is not something that I will ever regret or wish away. So even though I am intensely frustrated, very super duper behind with my work, and planning a ceremonial Burning of the Brace when this plastic and foam creature can finally come off, I am thankful. Thankful that I just missed landing on my neck, thankful that this isn’t permanent, thankful for all the amazing people who visited me in the hospital (aka the Pit of Awfulness), for how amazingly helpful my friends and family have been, and thankful that this happened because I am living my life to the full. I am thankful for so many things that if I were to list them all, this would be a novel, not a blog post. And so the frustrations, while they are huge and my current reality, will pass eventually and somehow I will catch up with my work and everything will be okay.

Everything will be okay in the end. That’s all I know.

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A Well-Worn Traveler

This morning, I woke up and had kind of a radical realization. I was reading my Bible and praying, as I try and do every morning, when suddenly it hit me. I am not afraid. (Pardon the long post, but this is something I have to write down, especially since fear and dealing with it has been a huge theme on this blog).

Those of you who know me and who regularly read my blog will know that the past year or so has been very intense. Job, David, and I became good friends. Not that I lost everything physically, but God certainly had plans for some major, major pruning. And just when I would relax and think, “Okay, this has to be it. I can rest now,” something else would happen. I mentioned in a post long ago that I had somehow managed to convince myself that because I am a Christian, nothing bad will happen to me, which of course is the opposite of truth. We have only to read the Bible to know that this is not the case. But when we are afraid of things, we will subconsciously twist words to mean what we want them to mean so that we can be falsely comforted. But I was wrong: something bad did happen. And it rocked my world view for months, and then more bad things happened, and they seemed to never stop.

You know those people who you look at and go, “He/she is weathered but they’re still here.” The well-worn travelers of the world, those people who have suffered and come out of it and they’re still standing. They are not afraid, because they know that no matter what happens, they will come out of it. They will be okay. God is sovereign. Life will go on; maybe not immediately, or even soon, but eventually, one day, life will go on, even if it is only in eternity.

I was not one of those people. I was afraid. Because, if I’m being honest, I was missing the point. If I live for myself and my own comfort, of course I’m going to be afraid. I have everything to lose. If my happiness, contentment, strength, and identity lie in the things I do, or the people around me, or what I own, or any circumstances around me, then of course I’m going to be afraid. Losing something of that, or, say, almost being mugged on my way home from campus, will shatter everything.

But I’m not here for me. I’m here for Him. And this morning I realized that I know that. That I can honestly say, as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him.” (13:15). Because, quite simply, I’m not the point. HE is the point. And quite easily and suddenly, my fear seemed to simply melt away and a brilliant peace took its place.

Wonderfully Made

Psalm-139

This morning I woke up and realized that now, this morning, for the first time in a long time, maybe for the first time since I was very small, I love myself. I’m flawed and imperfect, but I love myself. I love who I am. I love what is inside me. I respect myself, my thoughts, my feelings. I am allowed to take up space. I am allowed to feel. I am allowed to think, to be, to create, to speak, to breathe. I am excited about my future. And I now realize the importance of loving yourself, because how can you begin to love others if you don’t love yourself? It is then constantly a game of earning, earning, taking, inhaling, because in that state, the only love you can give is a needy love, a wanting love – at best, a self-conscious love. When you love yourself, you can love others. And all I can say is, praise God for bringing me to this place. It has been a hard road and a hard road still lies in front of me, but I have found my voice and allowed myself to speak, and I will speak and make and breathe until the hard road leads into another springtime and I can rest again.

Frustration

In a word: frustration.

Frustration because it was just a rock. Nothing “serious” happened. He threw a rock at my head, and it hit me hard and it hurt. So what?

Frustration because I wish I could just shrug it off. Because I can’t. Because even though my head is saying, “It was just a rock,” my soul feels like it was so much more than that.

Frustration because after a few good days, when I think I’m fine again and everything is back to normal, I have a day where I plummet back down to rock bottom and I feel like nothing will ever be right again. Frustration because when that happens, I feel as if nothing is working, as if the progress I’ve made is all gone. Because I feel like I should be able to move on. Because it was just a rock.

Frustration because even though UCT is being supportive and helpful, and even though I will still get my degree and hopefully still do Honours next year, I feel disconnected. I feel disconnected from my friends, from my fellow students.

Frustration because everyone around me is bustling and busy and finishing up, but I am in this weird, floaty space where no one else is with me. I am alone. Because of a stupid rock.

Frustration because even though I know this will pass, it hasn’t passed yet. And I want it to. And I am tired of being afraid. And of being tired. And of feeling depressed, randomly, without any kind of trigger.

Frustration because, really, there are bigger problems in the world. I should be able to have perspective. Kenya. Pakistan. Countless other horrors we don’t hear about. And I am here, feeling broken, because of a rock. Why can’t I push through and get a grip and get myself together? It was just a rock.

Frustration because I can write and type and talk about these things as much as I want, but it’s not going to go away until it’s ready to go away. And it isn’t ready yet. Soon, but not yet.

I just want to breathe again. To not have laughter be a rare occurrence. The irony is that I usually laugh my hardest when I hit my head on something, because I find it so comical, even if it hurts. I guess it’s different when something hits my head.

 

PS I have been blown away by your support and prayers – the number of phone calls, texts, and emails we have received are well over a hundred. Please know that we appreciate every single one and every prayer.

this will come back...I just wish it was now
this will come back…I just wish it was now

Aftermath

It’s been a week and a day since a man threw a rock at my head. No, it’s not so serious physically. Maybe I should be able to handle it better.

People ask me how I am. I’m fine. What else do you say? You’re not going to have a breakdown in front of Leslie Social on campus in the middle of the day. Because if I say how I really am, that’s what will happen. “I’m fine” is what I can get out without crying.

Oh yeah, I’m fantastic. I’m depressed all the time and I cry when I get home, and when I wake up. It was a spiritual attack more than anything, and yeah, I feel attacked. I apologize for not being made of steel or for being one of those people who can let it just roll off of them. I feel attacked. I feel every ounce of how much the enemy hates me and doesn’t want me here. Yes, I know, God is greater. I KNOW those things. My parents are missionaries, for goodness’ sake. How would I not know these things? I know that I’m an overcomer because of Jesus. I know I am victorious. I know that. And yet, here I sit on my bed, crying because I feel totally overwhelmed and like I’m drowning in all of this. “Pray for your emotions!” Thanks, I know. “Don’t let your emotions rule you!” Yeah. I know. “Don’t let the enemy accomplish what he wanted to.” Sorry. I’ll add that to my list of things to work on, including “Don’t be such a freaking failure.”

These are all things that pop into my own head. It’s easier to project them on other people, but actually everyone around me is being very supportive and understanding towards me, more than I am towards myself. I expect myself to just be fine, and to be able to handle it, and to be ok.

But I’m not ok, and that’s ok. I’m afraid to walk home from campus, and that’s ok. I’m depressed, and that’s ok. I’m tired all the time, and that’s ok. I’m behind with my academics, and that’s ok. I’m overwhelmed by everything, outward things and inward things, and that’s ok. I cry all the time, and that’s ok. And God knows, and He understands, and He knows how deeply this is affected me, and He doesn’t expect me to be made of steel because He more than anyone else knows how weak I am.

There, I said it: I am weak. I’m weak. I’m a wimp. That rock knocked whatever pride I had left out of me. I have nothing left that shows that I, on my own, am strong at all. I am a crying, snotty mess who is afraid to walk alone on Main Road in the middle of the day with people around. I have to ask God for strength to get out of bed, let alone do what I have to do that day. And you know what? That’s a good place to be. So even though I’m in a bad place (and no, I’m not ok at all) I know that God is strong for me. My faith in Him is not shaken. He protected me; something much worse could have happened that day, but He protected me. I didn’t even have a concussion. I’m not ok, and I’m weak, and that’s ok because He is strong. And eventually, maybe not anytime soon, but eventually, I’ll be ok again and I won’t feel like getting out of bed and getting dressed and leaving my flat takes an impossible amount of effort.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I need them.