This post is sitting upon my heart like a heavy secret.
It is not something I want to think more about tonight or tomorrow and I didn’t want to think of it yesterday. Yet, I have absolutely no choice.
It will not go away and, in this, is my post.
Soooo….that trial won’t go away and no one’s listening anymore? Who’s shocked?
[AND…if I were a bettin’ girl I would bet a very large # of you, who read my loud-mouthed/lots of pictures/transparent little blog here just rolled your eyes and thought, “Seriously? More about her PTSD? I am SO over it.”
Pssstt…..hello my sweet eye-roller…..So am I. And your response? I’m about to pound ya yer I mean write about it…]
SO many people are in long-term trials by fire…no choice in the matter. Yet, after about 18mos…2 yrs at best..interest in their trial wanes, friends dissipate, family question, life swirls.
Picture me stomping my feets and screaming these words for anyone who is a long-term struggle!
I am OVER trials.
I am OVER sadness.
I am OVER confusion.
I am OVER loss.
BUT….we are right in the middle of all of the above this very moment.
And we despise it.
A Trial by Fire…
You are thrown into it and you must wade through that ‘fire’ as best as you can. You had and have no choice. You LIVE but…you FIGHT.
I am thinking of my friend’s daughter who now has severe brain trauma from a traffic incident…that family has no choice.
A wife escaping from an abusive marriage is in a trial by fire as she cannot control her husband’s behavior and MUST leave.
Walk the halls of a hospital…most of them? Trials by Fire.
Walk the halls of a VETERANS hospital. Surely the Trials there are of Fire and not much of Choice…and yet there remains a sense of “But I had to” without an abundance of anger. Amazing.
Walk the streets of our large, urban cities, of 3rd world countries, of abandoned neighborhoods worldwide…look at the children you see there.
They are in a Trial by Fire. Who knows if their parents are there due to economic reasons or bad choices…but the children are certainly there because they have no choice…None at all.
A horrific traffic event in Chicago with 4 very close friends? My resulting and intense PTSD? Trial by Fire. I certainly didn’t ask for it. Anyone who would like to have that PTSD and my forever memories? Feel FREE to take it. I am pretty much done with them.
People in these and a thousand other similar situations were and are in trials by fire…figuring out each day at a time.
A trial by fire hurts as it takes away one’s predictability, reliability, and freedoms in more ways than one.
Such trials can and will ruin friendships and family relations …. this I know for a fact unfortunately.
Sadly, we have experienced this several times over. I am getting pretty real here but truth doesn’t hide. Or at least it should not.
Trial by Fire people are victims and being a victim of anything is not fun. It is not easy for people to hear a victim speak.
They want to hand you a casserole dish and walk away.
The community, that gave you the lasagna casserole, wants to pretend the we victims are ‘healed’ in about 24 to maybe -at most- 48 hours. ha. ha. ha.
As a result, trial by fire victims are often silenced due to peer pressure. I would know that one to be true also.
However, I have a very large mouth that is hard to shut up – even if I am a victim and even if people don’t want to hear how it hurts I will still tell them. (BTW: it hurts)
Friends, Family, co-workers, “people” who do not want to hear about your “trial” 8 months down the road…god-forbid even 4 years down the road… are close-minded and selfish.
They serve their community no good in trying to silence ‘hurt’.
Hurt, mental and physical, can take a LONG time to heal. There should be no “time limit” on when the “trial talking” needs to stop.
Talking about hurt alleviates it a bit. Being silenced and questioned about your trial by fire? Well, that simply turns the heat up by 100 degrees and the injury is multiplied.
How does a Mom deal with a severely injured child day in and day out?
How does a Veteran keep his love of country alive after “it” took his legs?
How does a a person keep their hope in the idea of friendship or familial love even after being told the “fire is too hot” or “there is no fire here” and removing themselves?
How do we know the next friend won’t do the same?
Trials by fire…
Well…I picture Christ beside people in these trials. Similar to how He might have been the fourth person in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego.
He is walking with those of us in a fiery trial….and I feel He is especially close to us in these times as we had NO CHOICE.
When I was laying on my stomach, semi-buried in debris for a bit, bleeding, screaming, and watching my friends’ blood drip onto the sidewalk, seeing another friend that had just been permanently injured forever….I was helpless.
I could hear the screams, feel the spray of the firehose, smell the burning rubber of the semi-truck’s wheels, but I had NO CHOICE about where I was in that very moment. I was helpless and I had certainly not asked to be helpless.
But God was there.
If you do not believe in God..I get it…but keep reading. …..Please.
You may recognize a feeling, a thought, a rationale…and you might see those things in a different light after you give your trial even more thought….
I hear you…..”I ‘think’ about my trial 24/7. What could change?”. Honestly, I think you could be shocked about what could change. I was.
In ways I am only now beginning to understand, I now get that God was there and He was angry. And THAT makes me happy. My God is a protective God and He hates Evil.
After a season of shock, life being upside down, nothing being stable – nothing from how the day would look for our kids to which doctor’s office we’d be at that day, to if I could get the scene of the incident out of my mind long enough to sleep a bit…nothing was stable for awhile.
The trial by fire, unfortunately, became our new normal. This was/is how life is for us now. Jim was keeping things afloat (read: exhausted); I was a wreck; kids were watching and seeing how this would play out. No pressure, eh?
However, there is ‘something’ under us now.
Something like footers to a new foundation. This foundation is slowly getting filled in.
Things are slowly beginning to feel more stable.
This “thing” may be the loyalty we are seeing in some friends.
It may be the on-going validity given to our situation by some.
It may be the success of my husband’s work/ministry that we need to meet the medical bills and simply conduct life in an entirely different way.
It may not be a person, a thing, or a feeling.
It could be God.
I could be going through this stupid trial by fire with no one else around, no loyalty, no validation, no safety net….and yet still feel “this” under-girding of strength slowly building.
(Regardless, I wish it were faster. Am I never pleased???!! sheesh)
But I do think that..our TRIAL came VERY QUICKLY yet our ANSWERS SLOWLY.
I wonder if it is so that we will remember?
Think of a toy you saved for. You know what I am going to say….Once you had the money and bought the toy – that toy was almost sacred because you had worked so hard for it.
If our Fiery Trial was easily and quickly quenched, would I have learned what I’ve learned? Would my empathy meter be where it’s at now? Would my idea of a person with a “mental health issue” have altered as it needed too?
I don’t really enjoy “saving for the toy”. I’m impatient, feel I am missing out, and sorta just want to break the dang piggy bank to shreds, get the money, get the toy and be done.
But…all I’d remember was the crash of the piggy bank.
I would have robbed myself of growth, maturity, and understanding. However, impatience still lingers like a dark knight in the castle corner even though I know I should not break the dang pig. It is a struggle. Patience. Waiting for answers and revelations.
Sometimes we get glimmers of pre-April 25, 2008 “Andrea” (always full of energy, etc) and it’s exciting yet reckless to think about as we are not sure we will ever be ‘there’ again.
And maybe we do not need to be “there”.
This “thing”…this new feeling of ‘support’ we feel beneath us is giving us the wherewithall to continue forward. Each day forward helps us to mourn less about how things will never just quite be the same gain. Never.
This idea used to scare us. Our entire world was centered on getting “Andrea” (me) back to where I “used to be” so I could be “that” Mom again. “That” wife again. “That” friend.
I think we are giving up on that.
There was not anything so amazing about ‘that’ Andrea that we need to give up so much today simply to get “her” back.
This “different” version may be “me” now. The answers come slow.
The new foundation growing, sure we had one before but it was built in a completely different way as we had different needs, makes us feel confident that the future won’t always be about trying to regain what we lost.
But that the future may, soon, just be a happy “look what’s ahead of us” fleeting thought versus a diatribe in sadness and loss and ‘what if’s’.
I wish myself (and my family), my injured friends, Baby Aviana, or my Dad (cancer)…had walked away from our ‘trials’ without even smelling like smoke like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego.
But we did not nor have we.
However, I find the fight easier knowing that, even though we had no choice, we are all fighting! And we fight hard!
When our fighting days come to an end there is a time of peace for us. (Now, those of you who are in a trial by fire…how often do you get “peace”? ha. Never.)
BUT…we have Peace waiting. I hope our time here is not shortened by our trial, though my Dad’s was and so many trials take lives to fast.
BUT that Peace/Heaven is something that we, truly, just cannot understand but yet, one that I, an intelligent and inquisitive individual, fully trust in and rely upon. (for more info: “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. Changed my life.)
I feel a new peace (a different kind…not the Heaven kind of peace but that soothing, thick, balming feel that makes your brain calmer) quietly pulsating from that new, ‘grounded’, “just a little bit more stable” feeling I have under me.
The peaceful feeling I am finally having now and again reminds me that there is peace to be had.
I may have forgotten that because the Fire burned it out of me.
The fire is hot though…and it scalds and the heat keeps people away.
Heck, it makes some people run and scream in the opposite direction. But, again, now we know who is true to us. There is good to be had from this fire but it does not relieve the burn unfortunately.
Well…phew. Who’s hot? smile
Finally, I suppose my ending thoughts are on hope.
It has felt stolen for awhile now. I have spoken to others in these fiery trials and they second this feeling.
As a good Christ-Follower, I should ‘know’ I always have a ‘Hope’. However, when you can’t get out of bed due to unexplained exhaustion, there’s no woman’s abuse center nearby, the blood work just came back positive again, or the medicines just don’t seem to work…
Hope seems fleeting not factual.
I am doing my best to find my hope again. I think it is a common struggle for people in long term fights.
Oddly, my hope for others is the same. It is that hope for myself that wanes.
I do not feel that I will be whole again or useful like I used to be or that I handled this ‘event’ correctly.
Just as a Mom with a desperately sick child, her thoughts center on, at times, where her future is headed and what does it mean to have “hope” when you are in a fiery trial.
These answers will come….I do have hope in that, now.
But, I have a feeling these answers are not easy to find and are, yet another, series of realizations that will finally bring me and other trial by fire fighters to the correct realization that there is a mighty hope for us…it is simply us that have to find the mighty to grab it.
There is plenty to keep us from reaching out for the hope, or the peace, or believe the notion that tomorrow is just tomorrow and not a loss….
But I think there are plenty of us who are willing and wanting and desperately trying to reach.
If you are reaching, please tell me. The Comment section is at the end of the post. If you click “Comments” and scroll down, you will come to an empty box where you can “talk”. You can post anonymously by selecting that is the “posting as” drop down menu.
I adore hearing your thoughts and wisdom. Your experiences and your reactions.
Thanks for reading this my friends. It was a bit raw, I think you saw several glimmers of some hurt show through but also, I think shards of happiness and even a bit of “I’m starting to understand this journey better” within this post.
You all mean the world to me,