For the past month or two, I have been feeling unsettled, empty, not quite myself. I have been emotionally raw at times, paranoid about situations and relationships, hyper-sensitive to pretty much everything, annoyed and annoying, and some days wondered if I was on the verge of depression or losing my mind. Not too pleasant for me or for my friends, I have to admit.
It was a bit like waking up every morning to the moment just before you get on a really scary ride at the amusement park. Or the first day of a new and illusive job which might make or break you. I was unsure of what was going on and I was fearful of what lay ahead; my mind went in crazy circles fixating on worse case scenarios, and all manner of irrational thoughts bombarded me for much of the day. I knew my perception was off and I was not tracking with the truth, but for the life of me, I couldn't get a solid grasp on it. I talked to God a lot, I tried to stay calm and not take things too seriously, I read my Bible, I listened to worship music, I repented of everything I could think of, I had numerous people pray for me, and it provided some relief, but I could not shake the butterflies in my stomach and the 'oh-no' prickling sensation in the back of my head that always seemed to be there from morning till night.
I began to think that perhaps this was a battle I would have to fight every day for the rest of my life. That I would have to scrape and claw for every inch of sanity and peace that I could find, and that each moment of soundness would require a very long and hard-won struggle.
On Sunday I listened to a lot of worship music and went for a long walk outside in the sunshine. It was a pretty good day, as recent days go. I asked God to do something at our church gathering that evening and I began to have a certain expectation and sense that God would indeed come and do something significant, if not for me, then for others there. At the end of the worship time that evening, someone began to talk about the Houses of Healing from The Lord of the Rings. I don't remember much of the words, but it was about coming to the end of your rope, doing everything you knew how and it not being enough. And this was when the healer stepped in. I knew it was for me. I sat down at the back of the room and closed my eyes for the next hour while my friend sat with me and prayed. I could feel a thick blanket of unearthly peace on my head and I didn't want to move from it.
That night, I slept over 9 hours. I awoke with a clear and a settled heart and head. That evening, I went to a dinner with friends and laughed and played with joy. The old paranoia tried to flare up at times, but I didn't let it stay. If I could describe it, it would be like a small but deep-rooted sliver of emotional immaturity and neediness (trying to grasp at anything to fill those gaps in my life) had worked its way up and been pulled out from the depths of my being. The wound is still a bit fresh, but the body is clean and no longer bothered by the intrusive element.
Removing splinters is never a pleasant task. They seem to go in easy and usually have barbs that keep them in place. Pulling them out is painful, but it feels sooooo good after it is done. Today, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I have been blessed by the tweezers of grace and each moment of peace is like an unlaboured breath, twice as sweet because it was not always so.
Grace, come and sit with me today again. I am lost without your constant gifts. I walk and run and sleep in your embrace. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I'm back home in the house of God for the rest of my life. (from Psalm 23, The Message)
This is a sand sculptor at work on the South Bank of London.