A lizard is grabbed by the tail, but with a twist of its body escapes the would-be captor. Alas, the tail is missing. But hey, at least the lizard is alive! This loss of a tail probably hurts, but the lizard goes on with life, and eventually the tail grows back.
A football player blows out his knee, requiring surgery and a year of recovery. This hurts, but the knee eventually recovers, and the football player has a powerful comeback, setting new records.
A teenager breaks his arm while snowboarding, as he attempts a flip on a mogul. If Shawn White could do it, why not give it a try? This hurts, but after the broken arm is reset, the cast is put on, and the healing process begins, the signatures on the cast from friends and strangers kind of makes it almost worth while. Plus, the video of the event is epic. The arm heals, the cast comes off, and life goes on.
For you brave souls who have been faithfully waking up early each morning, getting out of bed, and doing what humans do to survive, commendations to you. Some of you feel so deeply that you sometimes find the very act of living to be tough, and some of you manage to feel a little but go on anyway without really thinking much of it. The “feel” that I reference here is different than the hurt of a broken arm, a blown-out knee, or a lost tail. I’m not much of an authority on the lost tail hurt, but I’ve broken my wrist twice, so I know a little about that kind of hurt. The feel I speak of here involves the hurt of grief, loss, loneliness, abuse, separation, rejection, fear, anxiety, worry or depression. It’s a different kind of hurt. For those of you who deal with that kind of hurt, cheers to you. You are not alone.
Over the last seventeen years, every so often I have taken brief forays into exploring what it would take to become a licensed counselor. Talk therapy is needed now, maybe as much as it ever has been needed. So I check into the credentialing process, the time involved to become licensed, and the cost to pursue this. I then ponder what my life would look like if I met weekly with 15-25 different persons, all feeling deeply of some kind of hurt involving grief, loss, loneliness, abuse, separation, rejection, fear, anxiety, worry or depression. Would I have the emotional, mental, and spiritual fortitude to listen well to each of these hurting souls, ask meaningful questions, and provide them some kind of hope and courage to light the path they must walk? I may need to meet at least weekly with my own person who would hear me out, after spending that much time and emotional/mental energy to help others.
Seventeen years ago today, on February 22, 2005, we were driving back to Ohio from NYC, knowing that my Mom was in the final hours of her battle against cancer. I’ve been thinking of Mom again in this season. The thinking involves a lot of feeling. I’ve listened to that song “A Table in the Wilderness” by Russ Taff a lot lately. Some of the memories make me laugh and feel good. Some of the memories make me feel sad and cry. Losing Mom those many years ago did shape me and change me, and probably in more ways than I even realize now.
Feelers, I think I get you. Well, maybe I don’t understand you from every place you are coming, but I do feel you. Because you see, I feel. This feeling is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing of feeling is that I ache with joy at the beauty of the sunset, and my heart sings with pleasure at the glory of the sunrise. I see the little neighbor boy Liam walking down Corsa Avenue on his way to the daycare, and on more than one occasion when I smile at Liam and say hello, after they walk away I wipe a tear from my eye. Little children are so beautiful and precious, that my emotions well up with deep feelings of wonder and love when I see them, so young and precious. When someone I know is going through a tough time, it sometimes stops me in my tracks. I feel for them so much, I sometimes find it hard to shut off the feelers and kickstart the doers in my mind and body. Feelings, deep feelings, have sometimes hijacked my body and shut down the doing portion. It’s maddening, when feelings get that involved and almost turn off everything else. That’s when it seems that feeling is akin to a curse.
Cheers to you, feelers. I’m not ready to counsel you to stop feeling. Because God, our Creator, is described as having all sorts of emotions as well. You don’t have to stop feeling. However, if you are incapacitated with your feelings and it seems you can’t move forward with productive living, think of someone you could talk to and reach out to them. Talk therapy is a gift, and it should especially be practiced in the community of Christ followers. I hope we can have more authentic, caring conversations within the Brotherhood that promote healing, so we don’t have to gasp at the $185/hour costs of seeking out the professionals, and just decide we have to grit this grind out on our own. When we see how much Christ did for us, we should be willing and able to reach out to others who need us to listen, to ask questions, to love, and to care. When we see how much Christ did for us, we should be willing to ask for help when we are nearly captivated by our feelings, to the point of paralysis. If you are currently able to celebrate your feelings and keep on living productively with joy, consider reaching out to a feeler who is incapacitated with their feelings. If you are a feeler currently incapacitated by the negative feelings that weigh on you, there are people who are there to listen, to ask questions, and to care. If you can’t think of anyone who could listen, message me. Maybe we could talk, or maybe I could help you find someone who could listen.
I hope you feel better.
Son of the Father, husband to Sandy, father of six amazing gifts, Bronx brother, active participant in Believers in Jesus Church, insurance adjuster, occasional runner