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Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Hard Places


 

Do you have places that hurt?

Physical places.

Locations.

Buildings.

Roads.

A church.

A school.

A restaurant.

Places that conjure up memories you have spent a lot of time healing from and forgetting. 

Places that can send you 1,000,000 steps backwards in a single second. 

Maybe it’s the place where you got the diagnosis or experienced the break up.

Maybe it’s where you learned a truth you didn’t want to hear. 

Maybe it’s where good memories and sad memories co-mingle in an unbearable way.

Places that breathe death instead of life. 

This is one of my places.

People who love me and who are deeply familiar with my story understand why this is one of my places.

Last week, during a particularly rough day that had nothing to do with this place or the memories of this place, I had to take a road trip here for work. 

As I drove down this road and past my personal “do not go” point, I was hit instantly with emotions and memories I haven’t visited for a long time. 

I was proud of myself for not losing it.

And as the day went on, I only felt myself slightly starting to spiral. 

I fought hard against the spin out and the backwards motion, and I came out on the other side slightly bruised, but without giving up any of the hard fought ground I have gained toward healing and forgiveness.

Two years ago I started the serious work of forgiveness.

I have two people in my story that I have held deep-seeded anger and resentment toward. 

People who have caused me unimaginable pain and grief. 

People whose choices resulted in collateral damage in my life.

They are people I will never get an apology from and I will never get to tie up their loose ends into a nice little bow of resolution. 

They are my Everest.

Those of you with similar people in your story. You understand. 

You understand that those are the hardest people to forgive, aren’t they?

The ones we don’t get to sit down across a table from and ask them why. 

The ones we don’t get the answers from that we so desperately want. 

The ones that root themselves so deeply in our soul that they become like poison in our hearts. 

The ones we allow to make us calloused, angry, and cynical. 

They are the hardest ones to let go.

The most painful ones. 

And over the last two years during my deep dive on forgiveness, I have learned that with some hurts the process of forgiveness is ongoing. 

A few weeks ago, I was talking with an amazing sister in Christ and we were talking about “baggage”, and the things we need to lay at the foot of the cross.

And she said something that struck a cord with me. 

She said that sometimes you have to visualize yourself physically laying it down.

And that sometimes you have to visualize yourself laying it down every single day. 

Like a morning ritual.

“Here you go, God. I’m going to let you carry this burden today.”

That visualization has been therapeutic for me, especially over the last week. 

Every morning this past week when I’ve woke up and my mind has tried to zap me back to this place, I stop and I visualize myself laying it down. 

This stretch of road.

That hurt.

That anger. 

That unforgiveness.

I lay it down. 

Right there. 

Right at His feet.

Forgiveness is a process. 

And for some hurts, it doesn’t happen overnight. 

But, Jesus knows my heart. He knows where I’m at and where I’m trying to go.

For me forgiveness symbolizes forward motion. 

A desire to be unstuck in a place that no longer serves me or my purpose. 

And as long as I’m trying.

As long as I’m committed to getting there. 

To the other side of all of this.

He will bless me.

He will see me through.

It may not be today or tomorrow or even a year from now.

But we’re getting there, because He’s got this.

And He will continue to carry this place that I no longer want to carry.

As long as I’m willing to continue to lay it down.

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