I am your classic avoider. I avoid conflict and I avoid emotional pain. It is definitely a fault of mine. Given the opportunity, I will run. I am not one to remain friends after breaking up. I am not one to go back to a place that I felt hurt. I have not been back to my home in Washington state since the day I left over 8 years ago. I do not often return to alma maters. I like the clean break. If it were not for the persistence of my now husband, I would have probably run away from him too. I like to think it is because I feel deeply, and don’t always want to be drug back through the emotional pain again. In truth, I don’t always want to take the energy to feel. It is easier to just move on. Though, I know easier is not always better.
This weekend I was forced to return to a place of pain. You see this summer we spent my husband’s sabbatical in Steamboat, CO. During the time we were there I battled a flare-up of the Crohn’s Disease I have lived with since I was 9. My body was wrecked with pain. I struggled to eat solid food, relying mostly on liquid nutrition. I lacked the physical strength to walk a block and my husband had to carry me up the stairs to our third floor apartment. To me it was a devastating and discouraging time peppered with special family memories.
I struggled internally when it was decided we would return to Steamboat for the kids fall break. You see, I wanted to leave the painful period I felt this summer behind and in effect exist as if it never happened. Just move forward in healing. I knew particular locations in Steamboat would evoke difficult memories that I would rather not recall. I wanted to “protect” myself from those memories and the feelings they expose.
However, I was forced to return to Steamboat this past weekend. I was correct on one count. It did force me to relive some difficult moments. Yet, in a way reliving those was rather cathartic. Reflecting on the painful past, though overwhelming at times, refocused my attention on the immense healing that has taken place. I realized that I am no longer in the same place physically that I was at this summer. God in His great grace and mercy has brought about a beautiful healing in my life. The anxiety and apprehension has been replaced by gratitude and thanksgiving. Steamboat has always been one of my favorite places on Earth. Now, it is a shrine to God’s faithfulness in my life, as well.