Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Tough Anniversaries

We had a big thunderstorm last night that knocked our power out twice. So, when our power went out  again this morning, all I could do was sigh in relief that it had at least waited to go out until I was done editing a presentation for Dave Sr.

When you don't have internet, but all of your work exists in the cloud, there isn't much to work on.

So, I went to the back of the house to make our bed and stock the bathroom's depleting toilet paper reserves.

I laughed at myself after I automatically flipped on light switches (that did nothing) as I moved through each room.

I put the toilet paper under our bathroom sink and flash backed to our girls' bathroom in Nairobi.

I shook it off.

"It's just cause it's in the back of my mind," I told myself as I arranged the toilet paper in a tall tower.

You see, I've known 6/26 ("Kenya Day") was coming since two weeks ago when I scheduled a mother-daughter facial for that afternoon.

There's so much that was wonderful about that 3 week mission trip to Kenya: the nationals, the meetings they put on after we taught them how, the smiles, the dancing, the pineapple, the country, my teammates, that one meeting where we thought the bleachers were going to be blown over by the wind, our safari... It just puts the biggest smile on my face remembering all of those things. They were great!

The 20-30 minutes that were horrific, obviously were not so great, but the Lord has done great things with that situation since then.

I praise Him for His mercy, His protection, and His goodness then and during these last 9 years. I fully believe everything I've ever said about that trip. I wouldn't be half of the person I am today without that experience. I understand the importance it's played in my life in every single positive way. God is so so good.

But, with all of my understanding and gratitude and emotional healing, why can this one day still conjure up tough feelings?

Why are anniversaries so tough? Does it ever stop? Last year it wasn't bad at all. But, this year it's like looking forward to getting braces put on a second time.

Is it my fault? Am I the only team member who still struggles with PTSD? Am I just that weak?

"Sweet Jesus, thank you for giving me Your strength." 

Before this round of thunderstorms made it's way to Arkansas, we had one morning this weekend where it was hot and humid with no breeze. David asked me, "Can you imagine what it would be like to be on an old, pirate ship in this kind of weather?" Ugh, it'd be miserable to not have any control and to just have to wait for wind! I'd be like one of the muppets on Muppets Treasure Island going crazy singing We've Got Cabin Fever running around spastically.

Waiting can drive you crazy if that's all you do!

So, is it a couple days or maybe a week or two before THAT Day? Are you just sitting and waiting for the storm / the anniversary to come and go?

There are things you can do to get ready besides just trying to ignore it altogether. You prepare your house before a storm don't you? We take down the patio umbrella and move some of the potted plants... There are people who want to pray you through this upcoming anniversary. Your Maker is there when You're ready to talk to Him about how you feel this year.

Maybe you're in the storm already. Is today THAT one day of every year that you wish you could get through without realizing it had passed?

Hold on. It will pass. Even if the power goes out, it will come back on. Let Jesus calm the waters for you. He will. He's done it before.

It's not just another day. It's THAT Day. And no one else understands because they haven't lost their mom, or they aren't widowed, or they never had a gun held to their head, or if they did they weren't in a third world country several time zones away from their family in a white van because that's different than being held up in a Kroger parking lot...

And, dear reader, I get it.

And, you know what? It's a lot easier when you realize that no matter what it is you've gone through, you're not the only one who knows how you feel. There are millions of people who feel the exact same way - like they're alone.

Anniversaries of loss or trauma are hard. They are. But we don't have to go through them by ourselves.

"This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Psalm 34:6-8