\ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

5 months. I didn’t realize that today was going to be monumental, but it is. After listening to a podcast yesterday about Resilience After Unimaginable Loss, I was amazed by how far I’d come. At the beginning of this journey of loss, there were so many times where I thought I wasn’t going to make it because of the ugliness I was experiencing.

… the silent screaming into the bathroom mirror… the desperate bike rides home… the nights where I hugged myself to sleep because loneliness was my only companion…

Those were times when I felt like the suffering would never end. The idea of permanence was difficult to shake off when, time after time, these moments would return, with little to no warning. My emotions became something outside of my control. I felt helpless in social situations, where I would burst into tears at the smallest reminders, whether it was in front of my friends, strangers on the bus, or even my professors.

My emotions have been through a spin cycle, their unpredictability something that drove me mad at times. The sadness felt like a deep aching pain in my chest as if someone was constantly stepping on my ribs. Bitterness was a warm anger that would spread through down my shoulders and pass me off to its accomplice, guilt. Anxiousness, a heartbeat that was too stubborn to slow down. Fear, a vice that made everyday decisions incredibly daunting. There have also been moments of pure joy, of laughing until my stomach hurt and times of unexplainable peace, but these moments were always difficult to hold onto.

But today I woke up and felt an emotion that has become a stranger to me. I felt grateful. Gratitude isn’t something I’ve been able to feel for a long time. Gratitude in a genuine, deep conviction kind of way, for what happened, and what could have happened, but didn’t. The ugly feelings won’t stop, but I know how to deal with them in a better, healthier way than I did before. I know now that these feelings don’t define me, but that they’re stepping stones to understanding the season I’m journeying.

And so today I am grateful, for the Lord who has held me. I am grateful for the people He has brought alongside me that have pulled me out of my dark holes, or even better, climbed down to spend time with me in the depths. The times I had nothing to hold onto but Him and the moments I felt helplessly alone. These are the experiences which have now shaped me to be a more resilient and compassionate human being. I am grateful for this.

 

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