Tag Archives: hurt

Human (spoken word video)

Sexual harrassment threatens to make us beasts and objects, but we’re human. I share my journey of healing and forgiving. Performed live at Slam Africa.

No new goals for me. I’m still recovering from last year

Australian Paralympic Committee [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This past semester I experienced conflict, frustration, or loss in almost every area of my life. I desperately needed support, but many of my support systems were shaky. I didn’t want to talk badly about any given person to a mutual friend or online, and I didn’t want to dump my burdens on someone I was just getting to know – so I struggled to find people I could share appropriately with who were also available.

Sometimes I feel that I should be over more of it by now. I do have peace in certain areas, but I’m still recovering. Today I’m acknowledging just how tough this was and just how brave and strong I was. Even when I felt rejected, I kept reaching out to others. Even when I was tempted to take things personally, I clung to the truth of God’s love for me and my worth. In the midst of everything, I still excelled in my classes, found fulfillment at work, and invested in my communities. I apologized, gave constructive feedback, journaled, prayed, forgave, and grieved. I continued to trust in and cry out to God.

It’s okay that I’m still in process and don’t have all the answers. It’s amazing that I even survived, much less maintained healthy habits and processed so much already. It’s really a testimony to God’s grace. I’m grateful that God sustained me, including through many unexpected people who stepped up with support.

So as I enter 2018, I’m not quite ready for new goals or challenges. I’m taking comfort in the words of Psalm 147:3, “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Here’s hoping for a year of healing.

Dumpster Diving Artist

Dirty White Trash (with Gulls), 1998 by Tim Noble and Sue Webster

Dirty White Trash (with Gulls), 1998
by Tim Noble and Sue Webster
6 months of the artists’ trash, 2 taxidermy seagulls

When I started this site a year ago, I had just read Daring Greatly by Brenee Brown. I intended to share vulnerability in healthy ways.

I stepped out blindly onto a path and soon found myself climbing a mountain.

This year I faced my feelings, including loneliness and homesickness. I faced shame about my work and my worth. I faced hurt from the past and anxiety about the future. And that’s only the list of what I shared on the internet!

I didn’t want to deal with pain. But God had thrown away the painkillers I’d always used to escape. I realized I needed to find healing for my hurts. When I brought them to God, I heard: “You are my daughter, in whom I am well pleased. You are understood. You are home.

So this year was harder than I expected, but I was also braver than I thought possible. It’s been an adventure, I suppose. As Nicole Nordeman sings, “sitting in the rubble, I can see the stars.”

In Mark Shaw’s Work, Play, Love he talks about how theologian Jonathan Edwards’ categorized beauty: Simple beauty was symmetry. Complex beauty was a harmony of opposites, where beauty absorbs and transforms ugliness. Moral beauty was love for persons. God was complex moral beauty. This year I have seen how God absorbs the sin and brokenness of the world and makes something deeply beautiful.

When I first began to grasp the concept of grace, I wrote a poem about God using the imperfections and brokenness of a lightbulb to create a stained glass masterpiece. I called God a dumpster diving artist.

The creator made us beautiful, but we hurt ourselves and each other, resulting in a broken mess that should’ve been thrown out. But God wasn’t ready to give up on us. God dove into the dumpster of this world with us and became a human. Jesus immersed himself in people’s sickness, poverty and hurt. He opened his arms to our pain – and kept them open wide in a torturous death.

But God – what infinite moral complex beauty! – turned death into life, defeat by torture into eternal victory. And that’s why in heaven, there will be no pain. In the presence of such a God, bones take on flesh, ashes become beauty (there’s a song about that too). This is not the art that we envision. But the Holy Spirit invites us to join in. We too can make a collage or quilt from scraps.

Creating art and writing to share here has helped me look at my life in a new light. I can see that this year’s trash has been recycled by a dumpster diving artist into a new creation. And I hope I’m joining the Creator in making some garbage art.