What do you see?
If you've ever gone to therapy, you know about the weird questions. After all the tactical ones like your name, age, and address, you get the other ones. What year is it? Who is the president? Why are you here?
I knew the year. Had to think about 3 seconds to remember the current president. And I blurted out, "I need you to tell me that I never have to speak to my mother again."
Like a pro, she jotted that down on her yellow pad. Without looking up she volleys back, "I have here that you've come because you lost a baby."
"Oh yes. That too."
The absence of the rose-colored glasses on top of hating my sister and pretending that God did not exist anymore was ruining my life. I could see people so clearly. I didn't even have to consider that they were selfish. I could see selfishness in every single thing anyone ever did.
I thought that if I didn't see her, then I would be better. One of the first things I did was cut her out of every family photo I had. I'm the eldest daughter so I have a bunch. I had no problem taking a photo out of the frame, cutting her out, putting the photo back in the frame and hanging it back up, and then cutting her image into the tiniest pieces that I could cut. Afterward, I burned them. When that didn't really heal the pain, I burned everything in my house that she had ever given me. I tried to wipe her out of my life, but she was EVERYWHERE I turned. People at the store would ask how she was doing. My mom would call and tell me a tidbit about the new baby. I'd see my sister walking down the sidewalk. I literally had tried every recipe known to any "getting over your hurt" professional that I had found. Nothing worked.
My soul was so empty. I mean no disrespect if you already understand what I mean, but I have to give the details anyway because some people just don't get it.
I spent my entire childhood drinking skim milk and frozen ice-milk instead of ice cream. My mother had to watch her weight and she didn't want fat children. By early elementary, I knew that milk made my stomach hurt tremendously. So, I didn't drink it and I avoided anything that I thought was ice cream. It was a no-brainer. A stomach ache was not worth drinking skim milk (try it...it is milk-flavored water). And then one day, I had frozen custard. The stomach ache was worth every bite and I'd do it 10x a day if I could afford to buy it.
Having Jesus in your soul is like that. Religion is skim milk. It will do the job if you are thirsty or if you are fortunate enough to have name-brand Oreos. But once you have filled up your soul with Jesus, the creamy frozen custard that never causes a stomach ache, you won't go back to skim milk. You can't. Eventually, if you aren't careful, the custard will melt and slowly drip through the cracks of your heart.
My soul was so empty. I was such a broken person. I was also so determined to fix myself on my own. And I thought that if I ignored that emptiness for long enough, it would go away. It did.
My outlook on life was an echo of my 16 year old self. I hated. I hated everything and just about everyone. And one person I really hated was myself. I couldn't change my circumstances. I couldn't get out of this trouble. I couldn't see the world as beautiful or joyful. I just saw crap through my lenses of hate.
So, I found myself sitting in that tiny room with 4 chairs, 1 desk and a therapist. Where do you begin with a crazy story like mine? She slowly compiled an understanding of me and sent me home with a book. When she first handed it to me, I thought, "Wowsa! I am paying you $120 an hour so I can go home and read this book, that you did not write, for free?" She must have seen that look on my face.
When she read the back cover, I cried.
Poor retell - You are a canary that is happily sitting in your elegant cage. You sing beautiful songs and preen proudly; you have room to flit and flutter and there is always plenty to eat. Your life is amazing and your caretaker is always aware of your needs. One day while the caretaker was using the hand-held hose of the vacuum to clean the bottom of your cage, a knock came to the door and started the caretaker. With the flick of the wrist, you were sucked into the vacuum. Although the caretaker worked diligently to get you out, to save you from the dreadful bag, you were never the same. The trauma of that small trip took something from you. You may still look the same and live in the same cage, but you are now a canary with no song.
The book was right. I did feel like I had gotten the song just sucked right out of my life. She wanted me to read the first few chapters, write some things in a journal, and reflect on my feelings.
Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
For the first day, I saw a schmuck who was overpaying her therapist while she had to do her own therapy. Then I sat down to read that book and got so mad that I threw it across the room. By the time I returned two weeks later, I didn't know what all I saw. I did, though, know that I was defective.