And then I couldn’t stop.
A series finale of a show our family watches made me weep. It connected to something deep within me as a survivor and it triggered an emotion that I’ve spent many a year keeping at bay. For years when I was younger I found great pride in not crying, or feeling for that matter. I smiled when I was hurt. I laughed when I was scared. And if a tear managed to seep through the cracks of my wall I froze the well and went numb and dry.
Then I saw God face to face. When He met me at my lowest as I cried out and looked up he showed up and pulled me off the ground like a rag doll and cradled me in His arms … and I wept for years of sorrow kept buried.
Tears flowed freely after that moment. For a near decade I was able to show true emotion not only for myself but felt it deeply for others. And then new revelations bubbled up from deep within and I began to feel that way fortify with a new resilience. How easily we can go back to our defenses to “survive.”
When the memories of the abuse done by my grandfather surfaced and a barrier crumbled around me I thought for sure I was free from the shackles of numbness. But what I’ve come to realize is once my heart feels threatened and the pain is too intense to face, it’s like my inner child hits a panic button and the wall materializes from the ground up, locking me within the safety of its core.
Thankfully, as I’ve become stronger and more wise on this healing journey I know the wall is much thinner, weaker. My true protection is the hand of God my Father. This wall is not needed and my prayer is that one day my inner child will feel safe enough to never need it again.
I’ve known it’s been up; I just didn’t know what would help me bust through. Who knew the emotions of a fictional character would be that trigger?
The tears I embrace. This morning they kept coming. Everything is making me cry … but good tears. I watched my son walk into school and realized how soon we won’t come back to this school we’ve been attending for 12 years of his life (yes since he was 2 and in Mother’s Day Out). How quickly these years and moments fly by and life gets shorter and shorter.
One thought led to another and I thought about my older sister whom I hadn’t spoken to in months so I texted her just to let her know I loved her. I cried when I spoke with a survivor this morning who found out her dream to have a child would not be possible. My heart ached for her sorrow in all that she has suffered and survived in this world. But I know God has His plan for her and His grace will flow down.
I’m crying and it is good. I don’t want the wall to come back. I want to feel. I want to embrace life. I don’t want any moment to slip away.
The life we have on this earth is much to short to waste hidden within ourselves. Join me in tearing down the walls we’ve created and begin to feel the love of God in all things.
Shannon Dietz is the author of EXPOSED: Inexcusable Me…Irreplaceable Him and founder of Hopeful Hearts Ministry, an advocacy nonprofit organization 501 (c)(3) giving a VOICE to survivors of abuse. She is a featured columnist with Choose-Now Ministries.com “Shannon Deitz: On Hope”, has been featured on catholiclane.com, Lifestyle & Charity magazine and Catholic Women‘s magazine. She and her husband, Neal, live in Kingwood, Texas, where they are active in their local church and community. The couple has two sons, Ryan and Seth, who provide them with endless joy and reason to continually count their blessings.