There is no photo for this post, because shame is a hidden thing, it likes the dark, most people react with silence. I was recently in class and we needed to draw a grief map of our lives. As I looked back at the last five years, I got tired. I got tired of listing all the losses, some of which were truly profound and will continue to teach me until the day I die. All the grief and loss couldn’t fit on a single sheet of paper, it couldn’t all fit in my mind because after the class I kept coming up with more.
I ended up opening my mouth and speaking up, I was met with crickets. Now chaplains tend to be pretty good with silence, I don’t mean silence where you are making a grocery list in your head; I mean the kind of silence where you are present with the emotions and people in the room. The kind of silence where it is so uncomfortable you want to say something, anything to break the tension. Sitting there in my silence, in my story I felt ashamed. When someone finally spoke up, I still felt shame and was now afraid to speak again.
I gleam something about understanding my rules, is it okay to grieve? Is it okay to be in pain, when someone may not be able to help? Is it okay to been seen struggling?
I sat with that vulnerability hangover, that feeling of why did I say something… Judging myself, blaming myself for being weak, and finding that there are wounds that still need time to heal. The judging, the blaming are just tools my mind will use to distract me from the pain, from that silence of grief and loss. But here is the reality, I am the authority of my story, of my journey and it is going to take as long as it needs to. This doesn’t not make me bad or weak, this makes me honest to say I am still learning and working through it.
Thank you for listening, for reading and your support. This blog has been my permission to speak shame, grief, pain, joy, peace and triumphs.