Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Very strange day yesterday. I didn’t realize how much the bombing in Boston was bringing back the trauma of 9/11 until I was at the train station on my way into Manhattan. I was fine on my way there, but then I got to the plaza area where I get the train, and I didn’t want to go down the escalator. It wasn’t the escalator itself, it was the trip I was going to take. I had to go into the city through tunnels, to the World Trade Center. I felt like a horse must feel when they get spooked and balk and turn around and won’t go over a jump. I’ve been on a horse like that and there’s no getting them over when they decide they’re not going. I kept right on walking, but it was a really strange ride. People seemed tenser than usual, and not as pushy as they can be at rush hour. All I was thinking about was how much I wanted to get off that train and that I didn’t want to get on it in the first place. The way home was the same. I had to go by the same route, through the World Trade Center, past all the extra security – there’s always security at the World Trade Center, but yesterday it was even more than usual, with police security cameras everywhere, and the National Guard.

Trauma is strange like that. You think you’re over it, and then something happens and you’re right back where you were when that thing happened, whatever that thing was. And it’s strange in that you don’t have to have had anything major happen to you personally – just being around it and having it around you is enough to be traumatic and to lodge deep in your memory banks. We know that physical and verbal abuse cause trauma, but children are affected by yelling and anger, and hysteria and anxiety attacks of the people around them even when the homelife is otherwise secure. Sometimes the things we go through we don't even know are affecting us in other areas of our lives until there is a break of some kind, an experience that opens our eyes to see that something is not right. I don’t know how people get over some of the things they go through and are still able to function. I wonder if we ever really do get over them, or if they just keep their silence under the surface until that next thing comes along to wake them up again.
Sometimes we try to dull the pain with drugs and alcohol, but that doesn’t work. There’s a saying that the only way out is through – when I looked it up to find out where it came from, I found the original quote by Robert Frost which I think is even better - "The best way out is through." Dulling the pain doesn’t take you through it, it just keeps it there. It may be momentarily dulled, but it’s still there. Sometimes we just live in denial – we’ll say we’re fine, but you know there’s something missing. A lack of empathy, a coldness, a lack of connection with other people. Something is shut down and shut off. Then something wakes the monster up again, and watch out. Sometimes we just close off. We decide we can’t risk being hurt again, we don’t know who we can trust, so we don’t trust anyone or open ourselves up to anything.

After I was born again, I started to go through some of the same bad experiences I’d had before I started on my born again new life. I was so angry with God. I kept saying, “I’m born again now, I’m walking with you, I’m reading my Bible, I’m going to church, I’m working in ministry. Why is this happening?” I thought things were supposed to get easier, and they didn’t. It was really awful at first. I remember one morning talking to God, crying out because I was dealing with so many awful situations all at once. It seemed like my whole life was back where I had been when I had lost everything, the way it was before I had the revelation that showed me that God was real. But the only answer that kept coming back was “Trust me.” Finally I said, “How can I trust you, I’ve never been able to trust anyone in my whole life.”  The answer came back, “I know, but you can trust me.” And He was true to His word. I went through those things and learned how to finally be free of the fear and anger and hurt they brought. I can’t say that the things I’ve had to deal with have gotten easier since that day – in some ways they may have gotten harder. But trusting in God has gotten easier, because He’s proved Himself faithful over and over again. He takes us through so we can get out. The best way out is through.
Some people I saw yesterday were locked in their own sadness. It had nothing to do with what happened in Boston. Their misery was their own, and was so powerful that they couldn’t even feel for anyone or anything else. I’ve been that way in my own life, self centered but not because I was vain or proud, but for exactly the opposite reason. The weight over my life was so heavy that I felt like I was being crushed under it, and all I could do to keep going was to focus on myself and my own survival. I didn’t realize it at the time. I thought I was happy, especially when I was with friends, hanging out, always the life of the party. It was only after I got out that I knew what joy really was. The best way out is through.

There's an Iggy Pop song I love, the first one I ever heard, on a hot summer night on the Westside Highway, driving out of the City, stuck in traffic. It's a song about a girl named Candy, but it's also about a time of life and a way of life from the past. There's a line that comes to me now, "I had a dream that no one else could see, you gave me love for free." I couldn't even see my own dreams before the Lord stepped into my life and showed me what they could be, and He gave me love for free. He can do it for you, too, and that's what He wants to do. One of the names of God in Hebrew is Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals. I wrote a poem once about the miracles He does, the way He heals just by being with us. I'll publish that poem here one day soon, but for now, I'll leave you with this thought from it, He takes us through what once were nightmares and replaces them with dreams.


Jannie Susan

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