The Journey Within
Back in 2016, I felt a joy in me that I hadn’t felt in years. I was part of something bigger than myself. I was happy.
Until I wasn’t.
Unkind, demeaning words.
Once again, I didn’t speak up.
Then it was too late!
I had felt too much.
I had cared too much.
Worse, though, was the guilt I felt for not standing up for myself. Why hadn’t I spoken out? Why had I been so scared? Why had I put up with it at all?
I felt him then and caught a flicker out of the corner of my eye. I squeezed my eyes shut. Oh, no.
Had I been bound to this life to endure the happiness and sadness of all others, to be drained over and over again – parched, like the land during a drought, when rain finally does fall, the water squeezed out and drained away before the last storm cloud rolls away?
I took a deep breath and blew it out slowly before opening my eyes. There he was, just beyond my field of vision lurking in my shadow, careful to stay just out of sight. Like the other times, he would wait patiently until finally rearing his evil head to feast on the etheric fabric that was me.
Dizzy, I swayed where I stood, like a dried dead leaf in the wind. I can’t tell you how long this went on but eventually I hit the floor.
I couldn’t put my finger on it, but this time was different. It had never been my nature to give up. Still, as I lay there in the darkness I wondered, am I dying? Something told me the only way I could survive this time was to climb back even further into the darkness, where it was void of the day-to-day meaningless chatter of the material world, where I could experience solitude.
Eventually, I burrowed so deep within myself that a space was carved out allowing things to come to me. I was so far underground that it felt like it would take a lifetime to dig myself out of the earth.
And suddenly there it was.
Not one to memorize scripture or verse, I realized God was speaking to me when the following popped into my head. I would find out later it was from the Gospel of Thomas.
“If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you; if you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.”
I wasn't, in fact, dying.
I was simply waiting to be reborn!
But, the thing to understand is this. It wasn’t a spontaneous rebirth. Seeds don't just pop out of the ground as a full-grown tomato plant with ripe fruit. It takes time.
During the past two years I have grown. I’ve learned that it’s okay to feel so much and it’s okay to love so much. I’ve learned to set boundaries, how to speak up for myself, how to forgive myself and others. I’ve learned that it’s okay to put my needs first and to respect the boundaries I’ve set for myself. As a result, I’m not as intense as I once was. I’m more mellow and I’m starting to learn to just have fun and to not worry about the small things.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am a better person today than I was then.
I feel alive. I feel renewed. I feel reborn!