Monday, December 8, 2014

reflections on human sensitivity

I cannot understand.

My mind has developed the habit of twirling and skating around life's mysteries. I want to see the big picture. Where does all this pain fit in? I want to see the threads of pain woven into a beautiful tapestry, but I am too dependent on when I will be able to view it.

Every single day is the same old story. It's so dull that I have no desire to put it into text.

I ran across this graphic of words on Pinterest. It clicked with me and fit into a space that I've been too afraid to name. I think have an allergy to my fellow humans. I laugh, but it's a hard reality to me at the moment. I have an emotional allergy, a sensitivity, to humanity - the good, the bad, and all that is in-between. Everything about humanity, even my own self, drains me for everything that I once had. I feel it every single day. It's a tiredness. It's a constant wanting to escape everything and everyone.

Since moving 7 hours away from my home-state last year and then deleting my personal Facebook account late this past summer, I have been reevaluating my life and my friendships. It hurt too much to maintain the Facebook-connection when most of those who were on my "friends" list were merely acquaintances years ago, distant relatives, or friends who wouldn't understand even the slightest of what I've been going through this past year. I felt hurt by the lack of pursuing friendships. All of a sudden, I was bitter and angry at people who didn't even know what they had done to "wrong" me.  I realized this happens to even the best of us. Sorrow, loss, and grieving separates us from the "normal" people sometimes. There is the daily temptation to victimize yourself and demand things from others. I felt it rise up in me and it made me abhor my own self. The thoughts and emotions were so unlike me. So, I did what I had to do. Get rid of unnecessary outlets like Facebook. I didn't even want to give myself a platform to continue feeling those emotions and thinking those unhealthy thoughts again. Nor did I want to see people that I've known and loved through that distorted lens. The longer I remained in that state, I fell into a spiral of self-hatred. The only way that I knew best how to deal with that was to cut ties.

Even still, there are friends I haven't called or written in many months. I scribble their names on a to-do list. A to-do list? So, that's how I am treating them? It isn't fair so I crumple up the list and let the memory of them drift in and out of my mind. There are days when I so long to fall away from my life, to be remade, and then to return as the person I always hoped I could be. But I am just me, changing slowly through a long series of love and loss. Yet, the change isn't happening fast enough to my liking.

I commit to releasing my grip on pursing people. At least, for however long this season of my life remains. There are very few select individuals that I keep in relatively consistent contact, but even then I need some time and distance. My anxiety levels sky-rocket with too much contact with others and it scares me. I have recognized it and learn to name it for what it is: heightened sensitivity. It's not the person that troubles me, but rather the way that I relate to them. The problem is at the root of my thoughts in relation to God, myself, life, the universe, and everything. A tangled web that I am only beginning to untangle.

In this season, I cannot honestly be happy for anyone who is experiencing a fruitful and successful time in their life. I am undone by the shame I feel about this; they who were once joyful with me in my joy, can I not even smile for them? I simply cannot, though I may find the ability to genuinely express a little from time to time.

In this season, I cannot bear to hear the people I love go through more difficult experiences after years of ongoing trials and heartache. I am undone by guilt that I cannot be enough, do enough, or say enough for them.

I am even overwhelmed by the thought of sharing my own struggles with others. It's all too much. Some days, I don't even want to be asked or talked to. I want to come out and have human contact whenever I choose to do so. I want normal again. Whatever normal may be.

In this season, I really cannot bear to hear national or global events. Ferguson. Persecuted souls in the Middle-East. Our crumbling economy. I don't want to hear it. I don't want to read about it. I don't want to feel for anyone or anything. I'm all dried up.

In moments, I feel the urge to cry. And I do. But most days I do not want to weep and languish in sorrow, nor do I want the cruel and fleeting experience of happiness. I exist in both highs and lows when all I truly desire is freedom from myself. My Maker, Lord of the heavens and earth, tells me that such freedom is free. All I have to do is receive it. But receiving can bring so much panic and dread, especially when you're still holding onto so much.

That's okay, He whispers to me, receive it when you're ready. You will not be one moment too late or too soon when you fully open your hands to this freedom. You will be right on time, My dear. I am so proud of you, that you are learning to be patient with yourself as I am with you. In this time, your awareness of human pain is heightened and you are tempted to continually choose anxiety, even your physical health will fail you in this time because of the heat and pressure you are undergoing. It makes you distrust any shred of happiness or sense of joy, as those have been fleeting in your experiences with them. It also makes you want to close your heart at the first hint of sorrow in any of its forms. I will help you keep your heart open even though you will be terrified of the excessive bleeding. Do not fear this. When you touch joy again, it will be more real to you than anything you've known before. And, in that day, it will not depart from you, but you will experience the joy as having been there all along, just as it is now. Do not be anxious that you have yet to experience this. Trust that it will come, just as I always bring the rains to fields parched from drought. Each moment of this season must be taken slowly. It cannot be rushed because I am not rushing you. I cherish all that you are and all that you have yet to become. One day you will truly receive how much I have loved you through this season, how much My heart as yearned for you, how much you are always on My mind.

And I keep trusting my Jesus, stumbling through each passing day.

 My senses have taken to poetry this year. Mary Oliver. Tyler Knott Gregson. Jane Hirshfield. David Whyte. I speak their poems and suddenly their words are my very own. In poetry and music, I find the bits and pieces of who I am becoming.

It is possible for a heart to be exhausted?
can it still be worn
when locked tight
in its cage?
My heart's beat
Is a drum too loose,
a dull thud
where it once
was triumphant.
~Tyler Knott Gregson 

I wanted the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,

whoever I was, I was

for a little while.

~ Mary Oliver, Dogfish

 I was walking again
in the woods,
a yellow light
was sifting all I saw.

with a cold heart,
I took a stick,
lifted it to the opposite side
of the path.

There, I said to myself,
that's done now.
Brushing one hand against the other,
to clean them
of the tiny fragments of bark. 

~ Jane Hirshfield, Changing Everything


  1. Whoa... this kind of floored me. I hope my post didn't throw a log on the fire! haha but you know what I mean. At any rate, I'm with you. Since I've been in an introverted season in my heart I have felt a lot of the things you're feeling. I especially can relate to the world events part and the feeling of being "all dried up." There's a longing that still hasn't been quieted. Tonight Elena and I saw Mockingjay and as I was listening to the song "Yellow Flicker Beat" in the credits it sparked something then as I read this post I was like wow, that song is a lot like the poetry you posted and it really reminds me of you. A princess cut from marble hehe anyway my heart is with you, as you already know...

    "Yellow Flicker Beat"
    By, Lorde

    I’m a princess cut from marble, smoother than a storm.
    And the scars that mark my body, they’re silver and gold,
    My blood is a flood of rubies, precious stones,
    It keeps my veins hot, the fire's found a home in me.
    I move through town, I’m quiet like a fight,
    And my necklace is of rope, I tie it and untie.

    And now people talk to me, but nothing ever hits home
    People talk to me, and all the voices just burn holes.
    I’m done with it

    This is the start of how it all ends
    They used to shout my name, now they whisper it
    I’m speeding up and this is the red, orange, yellow flicker beat sparking up my heart
    We're at the start, the colours disappear
    I never watch the stars, there’s so much down here
    So I just try to keep up with the red, orange, yellow flicker beat sparking up my heart

    I dream all year, but they’re not the sweet kinds
    And the shivers move down my shoulder blades in double time

    And now people talk to me, I’m slipping out of reach now
    People talk to me, and all their faces blur
    But I got my fingers laced together and I made a little prison
    And I’m locking up everyone who ever laid a finger on me
    I’m done with it

    And this is the red, orange, yellow flicker beat sparking up my heart
    And this is the red, orange, yellow flicker beat-beat-beat-beat

    1. Oh, no, it wasn't your blog post that sparked this. It's something I have been feeling and thinking for many months now, but just now finally felt some clarity to summarize it in words. I've carried a lot of guilt and shame this year for many of these feelings and I sense that God wants me to brave with them - to voice them, to name them, and to not be afraid of them. We're in this together! :) Thanks for your comment!
      By the way, I loved that song by Lorde when I heard it on the credits! I never fully read all the lyrics, so thanks for posting them! Such a fascinating song! :)