“Welcome to the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
Frederich Buechner, 1926-2022
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
We know this to be true, don’t we? Maybe we tend to focus on one over the other.
Perhaps we pretend that all is well, that everything is beautiful and nothing needs fixed, or changed, or healed. Social media leans toward this direction. Everyone else is out here “living their best life,” without wrinkles, or stretch marks, or scars or emotional wounds. Many people live here for fear of finding what’s gaining on them. It’s not optimism but avoidance.
On the other hand, there are also many people who tend to live in the space of everything being terrible. Nothing seems to go right. Nothing seems to work, or fit, or go in their favor. When they look out in front of them, they don’t look too far because they can’t get past the mess that seems to follow them everywhere. It’s not a healthy skepticism, but rather a grim outlook that doesn’t see anything possibly getting any better.
Which one is true? Is life filled with beautiful things, or terrible things?
The answer is: yes.
The truth is that we have all suffered trauma. Often we’ve overlooked this reality in favor of a noble undertaking, We want to recognize those who have truly suffered, we think, and so we dare not identify the things that happened to us as traumatic. But the truth of this life, and this world, is that none of us escapes childhood without facing trauma. If you don’t believe me, take stock of your day-to-day thought processes. How often to you experience shame? How about anxiety, or fear? How many negative thoughts do you have about yourself? How many negative thoughts do you have toward others? How many habits do you have, that, while they may not be destructive, are keeping you from reaching your fullest potential? How often do you eat junk food? Why don’t you exercise, drink more water, take walks, or play a sport?
How much do you avoid doing the things you don’t like to do? What about the things you DO like to do?
How much time to waste on your phone? Playing games? Scrolling through media?
All of these are self-protective measures.
And all of them are rooted in the avoidance of the effects of trauma in our lives.
We don’t know this because we’ve become so good at avoiding, so much so that we can’t identify the ways we’ve been affected or even what caused us to avoid in the first place. Most of our behavior on a day-to-day basis is rooted in subconscious beliefs and patterns that we’ve established over the years. You may be functioning right now. You may be doing pretty well, even. But the truth is that unless we face the trauma we’ve suffered, unless we identify it, process it, grieve it, and work to receive healing (yes, that’s a thing, and a critical component to healing much of it) we will continue to perpetuate the limited living we’ve all gotten used to.
We were created for more.
We were ransomed for more.
We are offered more.
That’s what The Gospel is about.
If you want to know more about how the brain works, how we have learned to cope, and how to find healing, and ultimately, freedom, then The Story Maker’s Workshop is for you.