What am I afraid of? For so long I’ve been walking around in my head, peering out now and then to make sure I’m still alive. It’s like I purposely put up this foggy wall between me and the world and all the people in it. I guess I’m trying to protect myself – it’s an emotional survival instinct. I’ve been working veiled, pasting a smile to my face, saying all the right things, and basically being a prisoner in my own head. My wall has turned into steel bars; I can’t climb over them, I can’t break through, but I can see through them just enough to be aware of what I’m missing.
Every once in awhile I’ll stick my hand through the bars with my tiny little cracked mirror and take a hesitant look around. I enjoy the things I see, even the other prisoners like me. I see their eyes and their mirrors and in both I see myself. Sometimes the sun will shine through the dusty window and for a single moment I feel myself breathing, I feel myself living. The sun warms the blood in my veins and coaxes the stale, aching breath from my lungs. Then it goes away, or as is more often the case, I turn my back on it. What if I were to stare at it any longer? Would its rays burn me? Would my eyes adjust to the light and not be able to appreciate it anymore? What if its warmth were enough to pull me through the tiny window? What then? I would fall to the dusty earth, scramble to my feet, back pressed against the wall, as my bloodshot eyes darted frantically from the people and things in my midst. My bars aren’t there to protect me anymore. I can’t hide within the safety of my misery and desperation. I have to step away from the wall and remember how to use my senses again. Baby steps. Am I afraid of failing? Am I afraid of succeeding? In my prison, my failure is expected, comforting even. I hold onto it, purposely finding ways to keep me in my cell – I am good at self-destructive behavior. It’s like I want to stay here – it’s easy. Success, or even the attempt of it, comes with so many more responsibilities and expectations... more opportunities to fail and with greater consequences. What if I’m not strong enough?
I am weak. I am weak. A priest told me this yesterday, and it hit me with surprising intensity. I am weak. Yes, I went to confession. I felt compelled to go and I’m glad I did. The priest was nice and grandfatherly and opened my cell for me, just a little... just enough to get me started on the process of integrating back into the land of humanity and feelings. He told me that God is forever patient, and He’s always waiting for us to come back to us. He said that we all have dark periods in our lives, but we can always step back into the light.
I need to breathe. I need to write. I need to pray. I need to do all these things. And maybe then, I can slowly ease my way out of my self-imprisonment and into the light.
"He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is made perfect in weakness."
I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses,
in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.
Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and constraints,
for the sake of Christ;
for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:7-10