Today in a quiet time, I was overcome with an image. The thought or metaphor was of a plug/drain being pulled out of my side, and of some sort of "gunk" (for lack of a better word) came flowing out of me and into the earth. At first I didn't get it, but the longer I sat in silence, the more sense it made.
It occurred to me that I've been bombarded by a lot of really ugly things lately. Being confronted with my ex-husband's infidelity head on, watching the aftermath of his irresponsibility play out in our children, worrying about my niece, contending with a lot of really heinous cases of abused children...well it's been a little much to take in. But as my usual pattern, it takes me a minute to realize that my level of stress has gotten toxic. It isn't until I'm quiet and realize that my mind is racing from one thought to the next that it becomes crystal clear that I'm not coping as well as I would like to think I am. As I sat there, feeling overwhelmed by it all, I realized that the plug needed to be pulled. And now.
As much as I think I've got things under control most days, my emotions have gotten the better of me lately. As I sat through a trial recently, it became evident to me that my sense of control has eroded considerably in the past year. As I listened to a woman describe injuries to one of the children I've been appointed to advocate for, I felt tears spring to my eyes. I've heard her story many, many times. Her's and a hundred others equally terrible. Hearing it again, made me realize my lid isn't on as tight as it used to be. I overflow more often than ever. And I think that's a gift of some sort. The ability to feel for these kids makes me who I am, and makes me more sure than ever than someone must speak for these children. But there are those days when it all wears me down, wears me out. There must be a place that I can go inside of myself that replenishes my soul. That place where the Spirit lives and breathes.
As the metaphor of the plug being pulled became more clear in my mind, so did a new one. The idea of new life-giving water replacing that old gunk. The image recalled to my mind that passage in John about streams of living water.
More and more, I realize that I must daily, hourly, minute by minute pull the plug on all of my worries, fears, toxicity. This is the only way to live. Not by holding it back as if these things were to be treasured. Letting go is the only way to let in the Spirit that is love. Otherwise there is no room. All of the bad stuff takes up all the room in my heart, and no room is left for the Spirit to come in and transform/transfigure me.
As I left the silence, I was reminded of a hymn, that I've spent the remainder of today humming,
When peace like a river attendeth my way;
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,
it is well, it is well, with my soul.