Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I've Forgotten How to Feel

I forgot what it feels like to feel safe,
I forgot what it feels like to feel brave
A shattered soul never heals,
This heart of flesh has turned to steal
I’ve forgotten how to feel ~ Kendall Payne

These lyrics from Payne's song Touch are particularly poignant for me. Its like someone had read my mind and wrote a song about it - a bit like in Killing Me Softly: 'I felt he found my letters and read each one out loud' But on further reflection I'm not sure that I've forgotten how to feel rather I'm learning how to feel for the first time.

Feelings were never validated while I grew up, never encouraged to be expressed in a healthy manner. If I was hurt by something one of my siblings said to me I was told to ignore it and not take myself too seriously. I learnt not to talk about my feelings and pretty soon I stopped recognising what they were.

A few years ago I was discussing my newly rediscovered feelings with my parents and my father made a stark revelation, 'I don't buy into all that feelings crap.' My mother was quick to comment that feeling was a major part of the human experience. I thank her for pointing this out.

Having lived in a house with a father who didn't buy into all that 'feelings crap' for two decades has left a lasting imprint on my life. Not that I'm blaming him, no doubt he wasn't taught how to deal with emotions and feelings himself so how could I expect him to teach me?

And while I can rationalise his behaviour and justify it away the effects of that deficit are really undeniable. Its not okay for him to dismiss my feelings and to not take them into account. Its not okay that instead of redeeming a sibling squabble - by using it as an opportunity to demonstrate how forgiveness, mercy and grace works between us and our Heavenly Father through Jesus by the Spirit - it was dismissed. I remember more then one occasion when I was punched or otherwise hurt by one of my brothers and when sharing my hurt with my father I received the, 'My boys wouldn't do a thing like that' response.

So I'm learning.

Often I know I feel something but I find it hard to identify the emotion. Is it anger, frustration, fury, hurt, anxiety, happiness or joy? Sometimes its not until I have someone identify a similar emotion in their own life that I am able to put a name to the same emotion in mine.

But I'm getting there...slowly.

“God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons we could not learn in any other way. The way we learn those lessons is not to deny the feelings but to find the meanings underlying them.” ~ Stanley Lindquist

God's amazing grace has proven to me that while my situation sucketh muchly and the effects of sin and death in the world are great, he is using me in a mighty way. He will REDEEM every act of abuse, emotional, physical or sexual and work it for HIS glory.

I'm praying that my eyes will be open to see how he is already using me, even in my brokeness, not dispite it but because of it.

“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” ~ CS Lewis