Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

On the Rare Mornings I Feel Too Much

On the rare mornings I feel too much, my heart slams itself against my trachea and the world nestles hard on my esophagus. It is not unlike a hummingbird flinging itself against a still, sharp, rain-washed window.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, my breathing collapses upon itself, repeatedly, like someone squeezing my cheeks together in a vain attempt to release the smoke inside. Breathe, baby but I can’t. I never can. My brain is on the fastest merry-go-round and I fight to not faint. I fight to remember and remind myself that I am more than one of PTSD’s lovers.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I feel like I’m betraying J. somehow. I hear his voice instructing me to balance my thoughts, to breathe, to speak truth aloud, but this merry-go-round of death is too quick, too cunning. It knows my soft spots and how to exploit them, so that all I want is to curl up cat-like in my bed that’s always a little too warm—even with the fan on—and never move again. It takes an act of the supernatural to not be afraid on a morning where mantras and breathing techniques prove themselves inadequate. Maybe, if I statue myself, he won’t find me.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I wonder why my friends are my friends. I question if they only tolerate me. They tell me they love me, but warn me, as subtle as a caterpillar crawls up the flesh of a human arm, to “get over” my trauma because it’s been seven years and “don’t you wanna move past it?” It is seemingly trite advice for a body—a life—massacred by trauma and memories. Or maybe, I’m just projecting my insecurities into places they shouldn’t be.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I hear my mother quoting the Bible, the part that says, “Be anxious for nothing…” and I want, ever so much, to body slam both her and Jesus.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I throw myself into the jaws of theology to let my analytical mind escape the acidic rain of my tortured hippocampus, the part of my brain that loops trauma memories on repeat like a good 90s song. I can’t be PTSD’s lover when I’m reading A. W. Tozer and C. S. Lewis.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, the world keeps moving. No one cares. People walk and drive to work, to church, and to the bar. Children are picked up from school or ballet or karate. Wives try to remember who they were before they became mothers, and husbands cook a meal most chefs would envy. I wonder what Heaven tastes like.

On the rare mornings I feel too much, I force myself to cook breakfast, if for no other reason than “my body can’t survive without food.” I watch the sunset in all its glorious wonder and eat whipped cream from the can. I fight to remember and remind myself that I am not one of PTSD’s lovers, and that trauma doesn’t own me.

Posted in Christian Life & Theology

I Could Sing of Your Love Forever: The Hardest Time to Surrender

Today is the day of Resurrection, according to the Christian tradition. I’m spending my early morning hours listening to worship music. Last summer, Shane & Shane released an album of Christian classics appropriately titled “Vintage” and the song “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” is playing. I find myself humming along while Googling Rich Mullins. I found a quote of his in which he says that “the hardest thing for a Christian to do is surrender.” And with the words “I could sing of Your love forever” echoing in my ears, this question springs to the forefront of my mind:

Could you surrender to God and truly, with your whole heart, say “I could sing of your love forever” the moment after you sin, when surrendering to God is the hardest? When you’d rather hide and run than “come boldly to the throne of grace”?

Maybe that’s just my issue and you don’t struggle with that. Maybe you run straight to God after repenting and it doesn’t take you hours or days to come to Him like it does for me. Good on you. I’m not there yet.

Letting the Lyrics Settle In

Considering what day it is, and coupled with Rich Mullins’ quote, it’s easy to see why he would come to the conclusion that surrendering is hard. All of us would run from the cross. We don’t have it in us to surrender, much less love God. I think that’s what the songwriter is getting at. He gleefully declares “I could sing of your love forever” because he knows that it’s only by the love of God and the demonstration of His power by rising from the dead that he has any chance of redemption, lasting love, or everlasting hope.

The hardest thing for a Christian to do is surrender.

Rich Mullins

A Change of Heart

Rich Mullins is right. It’s hard to surrender to God. I have spent much of my relationship with God reacting out of fear and condemnation despite what the Bible says about my status as a child of God.

Romans 8:1 says this: “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus.” This is possible not just because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross—as that’s only half of the equation—but because He rose from the dead, proving that He alone is God and has power over all, even death itself. When I contemplate that, I am not afraid of punishment, nor do I feel ostracized or condemned. I can rest in my Savior’s power over death and immense love for me. I can gladly join in with the songwriter and sing “I could sing of Your love forever!”