The word isn’t even fun to type.Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment; none of us really enjoy pain, and I don’t just mean physical pain but also emotional. We don’t like when we are in pain and other people’s pain makes us uncomfortable. I mean I get it. Most of the time we don’t know how to respond to people who are in pain. I’m not even sure we really know how to respond when we are in pain. It’s not something that has been openly addressed, not something generally taught and I think that is why mental and emotional health are coming to the forefront. It should be.
There is such a push to be “okay,” but have we even looked up the meaning to the word? Here’s the definition after Googling it - “satisfactory but not exceptionally or especially good.” I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be just okay. I want to be good, maybe even especially good. I want to be healed of past traumas and issues. Not just okay, healed.
We had been back in Sterling for almost two weeks when our sleeping until noon became an issue. Someone pointed out that Jason and I were sleeping in and that wasn’t okay, perhaps even lazy. Interestingly enough they hadn’t spent the last two months in hospital living. They had not been living on anyone else’s schedule but their own. Jason and I, however, had been living on the hospital’s schedule. Every morning at 5 am our favorite vampire would come into Jason’s room to draw his blood to run labs. That started our days. Jason’s body was still on Iraqi time; he still struggles with this due to his blindness, but that is another post. He felt as though he could never fully relax because blindness messes with you like that. Jason, not knowing who was coming into his room, was also very uncomfortable. Not being in a location or house he knew always kept him on edge. Never feeling fully safe; that also comes with the territory when Iraq was the last place he remembers being.
Hurry up and heal, this time physically. He was closer now that we were back in Sterling. Enough so that he no longer required a medical staff. Jason and I were still tending to wounds on his face and mouth. Still applying creams to help with the scars. Still helping him with the medications to come off of dilaudid and hopefully prevent further headaches. Preparing for teeth implants as well. He was still physically healing though sleeping in, catching up on months of no rest was deemed lazy.
Comfortable with okay.
Jason healed physically from his wounds with time though as I mentioned in my last post (you can read that here). Here we are fifteen years later and realizing all that was not dealt with emotionally. I don’t know why things played out that way, they just did.
There was such a push, whether it was intentional or not, to hurry up and heal. We are comfortable with you being okay. It was mainly seen by a couple we were related to and some folks that sort of went through the initial part of Jason’s injury with us. Now I don’t know why, I’m not going to blame them for this. I don’t. We don’t need a bad guy.
A push to become busy, possibly why sleeping and resting were viewed as lazy. Another push to speak; for Jason to tell his story because you know “if you don’t, you aren’t grateful that God saved your life.” Real life, real life pressure. Pressure to go, pressure to do, and therefore pressure to become - a version of yourself that others find acceptable. Pressure to make others’ comfortable. Pressure to achieve goals that other people have for you.
Quick side note; we realized that our community stepped up in ways that were and still are unimaginable. Jason and I are so grateful for the prayers, support and the giving that took place. Small towns are great like that! I believe that no matter the size of the community people’s hearts are to help. Thank God! We also understand that people wanted to hear Jason’s story. That however is not the trip we are taking today.
We allowed people to push and became busy. Push and Jason began to speak. You see, speaking about what happened didn’t heal Jason, it simply made him more comfortable with talking about it. To remain cool as he shared what he went through. I shoved my emotions deep down inside of myself and became okay with not crying about anything. I’m pretty sure Jason called me cold hearted when we watched the Notebook for the first time. I don’t remember anyone asking me about my experience or asking if I was okay until December ‘04. Trying to hold back my tears as I sat across from my favorite third grade teacher as we talked about an upcoming eye appointment for Jason and the hope of a cornea transplant. I choked back the tears, got myself together and buried those emotions even deeper so they couldn’t embarrass me like that. I needed to be “okay.”
Fast forward fifteen years; we’ve cleaned up our circle. Seems like an odd jump to another story but it’s not. Not everyone has the same heart as you do. Not everyone is supposed to be a part of your tribe. Not everyone who is related to you falls under the title of family and on the flip side friends can become true family. We had too many people who we had allowed too much influence in our lives and wanted in the middle of everything and every decision. Those same folks with the constant push to be busy, that push to speak, that push to be “okay.”
Jason and I sat down after a while of having this new small circle and realized all of our feelings and our emotions that had been buried alive didn’t die. I think we knew it all along but it was our first chance to be real and honest ourselves. For the first time in the fifteen years since Jason was hurt we are finally getting the opportunity to figure out who we are. To also figure out who we are together as husband and wife and who we are as parents.
No one pushing us to be “okay,” and given the chance to take out all of these issues and really deal with them. It’s not from a stand point of “woe is me,” but to truly deal with the pain. Not uncomfortably hide it from the rest of the world. No more being fake or stone cold. A chance to become who we are really meant to be as individuals but also together. A chance to share with the world our wounds but also the wisdom we have learned from them.
|Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash|