I carry a storm inside me;
I am sorry that it is so.
I cry the rain, thunder the fear —
If I shed these, the storm might not grow.
But I can’t quite seem to cry enough
To let the storm go.


Emotional work is a long and messy process. I am doing better than the last two weeks; the waves have been less overwhelming and frequent. (Hours after posting about my intentions for Lent, panic attacks kept me awake all night.) Joe taught me to expect that the pain of old wounds never goes entirely away, but crops up here and there in new situations* or challenges. He and Steve Shelby taught me to expect that the pain of unfulfilled longings likewise never goes entirely away. With practice, with mindfulness, with openness, with radical acceptance, with prayer and faith and trust, with support, one can reduce the power of these things and grow more in grace, freedom, and gratitude.

“I will arise and go to Jesus, he will embrace me in his arms; in the arms of my dear Savior, O there are ten thousand charms.” ~J. Hart

*It is fascinating how a glimpse of kindness can evoke the old wounds and longings. Reminds me of my experiences on a short term mission trip in Africa. A few weeks of great stress in one situation, with few or no tears, and then a new situation with a very kind couple, and the tears come out in a flood.

Hand in Hand Parenting talks about how, when a child feels more safe and secure with her parents through such things as special time and play-listening, she’s MORE likely to erupt in tantrums and big cries and big fears — she feels safe enough to let them surface. The acts of tantrumming, crying, trembling, and so on, shed the feelings and the stress hormones with them. With time, the tantrums and cries and fears are less dramatic and resolved faster. The same is true of adults; crying and so on in the warm presence of a safe friend or partner is healing.


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