Survival

This blog is a continuation in a series I am writing about my husband’s brain injury.  If you wish to read the story in order, go back in my archives and find Begin at the Beginning…all the ones in the category brain injury tell my story. Some are longer than others…they come in chunks of time…sometimes quickly and others much slower.  Thanks for taking the time to read and being patient as I walk through the one of the toughest parts of my life again with new eyes to see how God used the broken pieces to create something beautiful.

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I am a ponderer…one who ponders.  I don’t know where this trait comes from exactly.  As long as I can remember I have been one to pull back in times of trauma…to think…to wrestle.  My friends know this about me.  If I am quiet, I have withdrawn for a reason.  On the outside, you may never know I am pulled back. I can smile and joke and laugh as always, but if you know my eyes, you can see the reflection of whatever I carry in them.  I don’t hide well.

After Bill’s accident, I visited with those who came by the hospital.  I was full of faith, trying to hold onto what I knew to be true about God…even if it didn’t look like I thought it should.  I was so appreciative of those who cared enough to check on us.  It was a pleasure to chat and it passed the time, helping me to not feel so alone.  On the outside…the public side, I was talkative and full of hope. However, on the inside I was just trying to hang on to what the outside me was saying.  There were two parts of me…the survival me, and the hurting me.  I only acknowledged the hurting me in private, to myself and to God.   People said I was strong.  They didn’t know how I did it.  I never quite got that.  I guess I didn’t feel I had any choice.  Crumble or stand.  No choice…just stand.  I pushed the crumbling me to the side…stuffed the grief…and generally ignored the state of my inner heart.

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I found out during this time in my life, that when I am overwhelmed God is only a breath away.  The scripture says he draws near to the brokenhearted.  I found that to be a promise that he keeps.  The night he showed up and comforted me, when I was at my end, changed everything.  The way I prayed, the way I worshiped, the way I knew him…it was all different. Intimate. I found him incredibly attuned to the details of my life, and so I learned to retreat into the Secret Place.  It is the place where I can rest…it restores my soul.  A broken heart is one way to get there, genuine worship is another.  Up until this point, I had sung hymns and praise choruses and liked them both.  I had heard beautiful music of all kinds generated by choirs and instruments.  Nothing had taken me to his feet like my own tears of sorrow.  Nothing had lifted me up like my own voice of worship in the midst of pain.  In the Secret Place there is a quietness of soul, a stillness of spirit.  It is a waiting place, as if being there draws him to come and breathe on me…the broken me…the hurting me…the me I hide from the world.

There are some songs, which lead me to this place.  Being as I am not a musician, I have to find the songs I can ride… that cover me, and fill me up.  They are numerous, and more than precious to me.  Some are popular worship songs…others are more unexpected…a connection between the heart of the artist and my own.  Each one uniquely speaks to my soul at the moment I need it, and takes me into the Secret Place. Some I can listen to over and over again…anytime I need comfort or encouragement they soothe my battered heart.

There is one such song that touched the inner me deeply at this difficult juncture in my life.  It was a Twila Paris song, The Warrior is a Child.  I had heard Twila’s music before this time of course, but it was her heart that attracted me to become a fan.  The whispers of God emanated from her songs and connected me with the deepest places.  It was in the first days following the accident, when I was reeling from this catastrophic blow, that I learned how to find this place. To this day when I need to close the world out, I find the artists who have been there and who are connected with sorrow, and have found the path to the Secret Place through their music.  They are the ones who can take me there.  It is inspiring, and keeps my chin up when I am in a difficult place.  I hear his heartbeat for me as if I am resting my head on his chest.  I feel his presence all around me as if I am sitting upon his lap.  I see things, and he shows me how to survive whatever is on my plate at the time.  The best part of the Secret Place is that I do nothing.  I simply sit and soak.  Sometimes words flow to me, other times melody, and still others tears.  I can grin and know that he gets me.  No need to prove myself, or change myself.  I can step out into his light fully vulnerable knowing that he will receive me there.  It is a most glorious place to be fully known and completely accepted as I really am.

Among the blessings that came from Bill’s accident, and there are many, this one thing is worth all the pain I went through…finding the Secret Place.  I think because it was not a one-time trip. It was a hidden place of peace and joy that called me back again and again.  Each time I hear The Warrior is a Child tears come to my eyes as I go back in time to the days when God was teaching me how to rest in the midst of the storm.  It has turned out to be a life skill that is a treasure of enormous value to me because I have weathered many storms.  In these storms, my wrestling mind gives way to my humbled heart…at least as long as I am still, and I have become a worshiper…one who worships. 

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