My prayer today has been bouncing between the walls of mind and into every fiber of my very exhausted body.
“But, Jesus I’m tired.”
What do we do with exhaustion? For me, navigating the reality of a very fast-paced moving world while also trying desperately to maintain my stance with trauma is exhausting.
My trauma therapist shared with me a few days ago that Im at the “middle stage” of trauma. That I’ve leaving shock and entering the world as it is around me and seeing the amount of impact of how forever changed I am. It’s like a really forever long valley of dry heat, dirt and no where to rest. That’s trauma – it is a forever wound that doesn’t actually heal – it exists within your body.
I was devastated by this term “middle stage.” It wasn’t comforting and it wasn’t meant to be – everything I’m doing to be a more present human after trauma is not about comfort. It resolves around the uncomfortable – at least it does now.
At the Ash Wednesday service I was reminded things are different now. The words to dust you shall return felt literally very present to my memory. Because every day I hold the trauma I’ve experienced knowing I could very well have not survived. When we read the liturgy revolving around God knowing our frame and where we came from (dust) I restrained myself from completely collapsing into tears. This statement felt more real than the previous times.
And, that’s the grit of trauma. It’s not the kind of invitation we would ever ask for or deserve to experience — but it invites in intimacy. In fact, I’d like to suggest it forces us there. Trauma makes your nervous system go deep into your spine – you’re looking for you and your brain sends messages of “no where to be found.” Because systematically in your nervous system you are now changed; marked for life.
My trauma – the most recent – is violent. And, this kind I would wish on no one. But the choices I have is to embrace, hurt, sadness, be exhausted and survey the land of wreckage. Because that’s what it is – wreckage. I have refused to say broken here for very good reasons. Let’s name it as part pride in not allowing another individual to lay claim over me as broken and part reconciliation of my body.
This “middle stage” lands in the season of lent. And, if I’m reaching, I’m reaching – but God is mystical. So, I’m leaning into the invitation to get intimate within lent as if my trauma depends on it. As if my living life here presently depends on it.
What does it mean to be exhausted?
Your body is saying I need you to pause. I need you to sit in that dry heat to sweat, to cry, to be introspective and to look to the horizon. I need you to see that I took you this far and I will take you out of this valley through the wilderness and into the light again.
From parted seas, to the mount, to the cross to our bodies – God is taking us to new light. And, there’s joy in the sorrow and it is a blessing from God that I can still see the glimpses of joy and the knowledge that I am still here.
I’ll take exhaustion.
I am tired. Continue to wrap your spirit around my bones to move forward. Continue to wrap your spirit inside of my heart to see the goodness of this world. Continue to wrap your tenderness into my words. Continue to show me to take comfort in all spaces. Show me the way to be still in the middle stage of this season. Comfort my soul, as you do – as you do.