I was speaking with a friend last night on Facebook. A friend who has walked with me over the past few years; he has seen me at me best and my worst.
The average person watching this process of transformation in me from a distance would easily have labeled me bi-polar, unstable, perhaps even crazy. But this friend had just come out of a similar process and was now on the other side. Our situations parallel to one another.
However you label it, it is a painful, destructive process. Some refer to it as St John of the Cross so eloquently put it “The Dark Night of the Soul”, others have called it an Existential Crisis. Whatever you call it, one thing is certain, there is no way around it, no way to avoid it, you must simple keep walking Upward, right through it.
The process almost always begins with some major painful, or series of painful events that reach down into your soul and trigger your greatest fears and insecurities. For me, it was a series of relationships. These relationships triggered old childhood wounds that I thought I’d dealt with long ago.
“The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it emotionally. A higher paradox confounds the emotion as well as reason and there are long periods in the lives of all of us, when the truth as revealed by faith is hideous, emotionally disturbing, downright repulsive. Witness the dark night of the soul in individual saints . . .”
― Flannery O’Connor
By the time the third relationship ended, and I found myself triggered once again, my initial reaction was to numb out and throw myself into a state of busyness. But this time nothing worked. It was as if I was being forced to face my fears head on. Ironically most of the ‘teachers’ who helped me along the way were men. Platonic relationships that created a safe place for me to better understand and learn to feel secure in their masculine presence.
These men unknowingly took on the roles of father, brother and friend, some I couldn’t even adequately define, and likewise I became mother, sister and friend to them.
‘Father’, sat with me on the phone all night as I finally allowed myself to fully feel again by facing my deepest fears. Fears of rejection and abandonment. I cried for about 5 hours straight that night, gut wrenching and raw. He would chime in every so often simply saying “it’s ok honey, I love you” or “you’re safe”. My greatest fear in allowing myself to fully feel was that I’d come completely undone and lose my mind. But as the sun rose the next morning, I found myself at the foot of a large mountain, ready to begin a journey upwards that would forever change my life.