“He crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.” Shawshank Redemption
While watching “The Shawshank Redemption” this line in the movie popped out at me. Let me tell you I have crawled through my own river of shit and I am hoping to come out clean on the other side. The other side has not happened. For Andy, in the movie it took him 19 years to get out of his “river of shit”. For me it has only been 4 years.
When I first jumped into the river I did not know what was happening to my body. All I knew is that my body hurt, I could sleep for days and never felt rested. I also had a lot of stress going on, especially in one relationship particularly. I thought this guy hung the moon and stars, I thought he was going to stand beside me through thick and thin like I have always done for him. He was supposed to be a close friend; turns out I was in denial about the entire relationship. During that time he did not notice my breathing, he did not care that I suffered or that at times my ankles, feet, and other body parts swelled up as big as watermelons and that I ached all over. Or when the swelling happened the only thing I could do was crawl. Yeah, he did do a few things for me, but if it was only convenient for him. He never dropped anything to aide me. Instead he ran away and left me wondering what the hell happened. The river of shit is often times painful.
I have started noticing differences in relationships. There are people who come in one’s life for a season and those who stay for a life time. There are those who are just people you know and those who are the best friends and family members that do stand beside you as you fight on. I now know that difference and this guy was just someone that I knew. Yes, we have had some great memories, but when things start getting shitty and the river starts rising he runs away, while others stand right in that river with you offering their support and encouragement to sustain you.
That was the beginning of journey on the river of Vasculitis. Now I am much further. I now know what exactly I have. I now have medications that are supposed to help. Though today and yesterday my back has been aching and I have been sleeping more than usual. I am still alive, I am still able to kick, and I have help. Not just with people, but also with devices and modifications to my throat that are propelling me to where I am supposed to be.
I have undertaken many different transformations for my emotional, spiritual, and physical health. Despite hurting, I am at least doing some sort of exercise to keep me healthy. I am eating better than I ever have, and I am learning what my limits are and taking precautions so that I do not have an episode. I am realizing my value and that I do have a choice.
Yesterday I read in “Shades of Hope”: “We must let that past go in order to move into our future. This is not about blaming anyone anymore. Most sick people were raised by sick people who themselves were brought up by sick people. In order to finally release that imprisoned divine self, we have to begin to see that only we can be responsible for the present. We cannot change anyone else, but we can change ourselves. We are our problem. But we are also our solution.” Powerful! Hitting me in the heart like a bomb and exploding. Moving forward and through the “river of shit” and being our own solution, can you fathom that? Yes, God is with me, I feel Him in every single breathe that I take daily. Do you know how many breathes you take a day just to keep your body moving? I do not have an exact number, but think about it, it is a lot. I am thankful for every single breathe I take, even if I want to scream in pain. At least I am able to feel it. At least I am here to express it. I am only responsible for me and my reactions. The people who have judged, criticized, punched, kicked, and verbally insulted me are hurting too. They are not in their right mind. I cannot blame them for how I reacted to such injuries. Something that I am beginning to realize is that sometimes when someone says something, I could be interrupting it wrong or I could be internalizing it when I should express that slight at that moment even if they become raging lunatics. We are after all egocentric beings and we don’t see what our actions are doing to someone else. Meaning often times we only see things from our own perspective and discount that the other person has their own perspectives. We are often times stuck in that stage of development because of past traumas. Man, have I been traumatized. I have been slighted, disregarded, treated unfairly, and had mean things said to my face. How do you deal with it? Do you squelch your feelings? Do you just let those things drip into your river making the river even shittier and just stand in it and stagnate? Or do you crawl through it, deal with the anger, pain, and start forgiving and not blaming people for your misfortunes?
I am going to tell you what I am doing. First off, I have forgiven my nephew and his wife for their lies they spread about me during periods of my life when I have been the weakest. I am forgiving the guy who chose to run away and not be a friend and stand beside me while I fight on. And I forgive my sister for choosing to drink and sit stagnate on her life while I am fighting hard to just have one. I am also forgiving me for being SICK and having my feelings. Feelings are healthy, but it is how you choose to act upon them that can be unhealthy. Allowing them to be stuffed causes addictions and other issues, but expressing them can be freeing. God, expressed His anger towards his people, but He never stopped loving them either. I am going to share something, a chart that I found in a book I am reading.
Feeling: Anger Carried or denied: rage Gift: strength, energy, motivation.
Feeling: Fear Carried or denie: panic, paranoia Gift: wisdom, protection
Feeling: Pain Carried or denied: depression, hoplessness Gift: healing, growth
Feeling: Loneliness Carried or denied: isolation, helplessness Gift: reaching in and reaching out
Feeling: Shame carried or denied: worthlessness Gift: humility, humanity
Feeling: Guilt Carried or denied: immobility Gift: amends, values
Feeling: Joy Carried or denied: hysteria Gift: hope, healing, spirituality
Every emotion has a gift that is attached to it.
Are you seeing the gift of your emotions? Are you crawling through your own “river of shit” and coming out clean on the other side or are you stagnate in it and drowning?