As if this was not enough, some genius figured out how to make the glass crack when you step on certain sections and then the craziness ensues… Regardless of the fact that the person they are with is standing on that fractured (appearing) segment, the individual traumatized cannot trust them. The evidence of the hundreds that are still walking on the bridge does not matter. They are locked in a mortal battle for life. Logic is irrelevant at this level. If you ever needed evidence that we are emotional creatures with the ability to think, rather than the other way around, this will show you.
Here is the test, lest you believe you are better than this: try to guess what your version of this is. Perhaps it is the mouse or snake or bees. Perhaps it is the Zip-line, the bungee version of the ride at the amusement park or the rollercoaster… we can go on guessing but you get the picture. Perhaps it is something completely different. Perhaps it is the unexpected passing of your child or lover. The passing of the job that was “supposed to be yours” that went to another. It could be that the justice in court for the obscene violation didn’t come. This kind of thing is like a miasma that seeps into every nook and cranny, leaving a foul stench behind. This is as the fake cracking glass to the traumatized visitor; except they knew what they were doing in the beginning, simply going for a walk.
So here you are, on a glass bridge to safety traumatized by the journey. Any trust you had in the friend that you thought that would see you to the other side is at least violated if not now the recipient of your hatred and resentment for taking you on this journey. It is real. There is a guy in the video that lost control of his bladder, it is that real…. When it is your story it is that real as well. The trauma of the thing cannot be over stated. For some the simple act of the retelling is to re-wound them… It can be done too soon.
Trust. What to do when it is gone? Gone is different than simply destroyed by a friend carelessly, and worse intentionally. It makes the farm boy trick of peeing on the electric fence a joy ride by comparison. But it is the same, only the degree is different. Healing is still waiting. Not certain if it is hoping yet… perhaps hoping that the falling has stopped, is the best you can muster. What if it is about the partner in business that ran off with your investment and your spouse? It happens…
How do you trust the surgeon? There is the story of a circumcision gone wrong, and the young boy is as deformed as the parents are traumatized… What then? To whom do you cry out to? Who will get the trust that is needed for the remainder of your life to move forward? Or will you regress into a shell of resentment and bitterness? That is an option as well. But, what of this is good? Disillusionment is a thing. So is numbing and escape. You can even become a workaholic and fake out the losers that can’t or won’t keep up… but it is a lie and you know it.
It is a curious thing, pain. CS Lewis wrote a book about it in the 40’s and it is still true today; it gets us all and drives us to our breaking point. Or past it. “The Problem of Pain”, is of course, that it is a problem. Irreconcilable and intractable, it gets us at some point, and we are as the visitors to the glass walk-way, broken by the magnitude. Some will simply walk by. Others will gawk, and still others will record the experience and tell of your embarrassment and silly behavior in the presence of so many that are unaffected in the same place as you. But are they? To have your ox gored, so to speak, is to have “Your” ox gored. If it is your only ox then it means a great deal. If you are young and make a mess of your finance, then you think you still have time to fix it. If you are old and your spouse gambles your life savings in 6 months it is a different story (true, as told to me in my back yard by the wife in the matter).
Concussed. That is a thing. Overwhelmed by the size and shape of the problem. It implies that you will come out of it at some point and then be faced with the new reality. There is an interesting point about burn victims that is a parallel: their nerves die when they are severely burned. That allows for the beginning of the healing, and the problem of pain comes back as the nerves grow back as well. Then it becomes “known”. This is the case in all of the betrayals of trust. At some point comes the beginning of healing, and the nerves will let you know that you are not done.
Trust is confronted in the manner of safety as well. The security of finance, food, shelter, companions, these can all turn on you in many ways. When confronted with a simple walk up the mountain in Maine, and the weather turns cold and drizzly you are caught off guard and soon hypothermic in your T-shirt and shorts. It actually kills several people a year. They were simply out for a day-hike and were unprepared for something larger than they to step in and breach trust. To whom do you call then…
Oddly the answer is that the one to whom you call must also be “larger”. The one to whom you call must be also the one that is a “more worthy” bearer of the trust that is given. The problem comes when you mislabeled the one to whom you gave it and called that “God”. CS Lewis stated that to most modern Christians, “the complete understanding of their Christian Walk is that they had a good meal and a safe place to lay their head at the end of the day.” That was in 1940, are we any better today? If your trust in the divine was rooted in your good health and well-rounded family, what happens when cancer come to your door? You can follow the string to your own story, they are all the same in the end. If you take your cat to the vet and the Dr stops the surgery due to the protests of the cat, it is not a Dr that you took your cat to. The good Dr will keep going as that is the better result, better than to stop simply at the first complaint. Is it not the same for us?
The result is that you become aware that we are not made for this place, or we would find peace and satisfaction here. That we yearn for another place is to know that there must be some place “other” for which the yearning comes. So too, the Giver of that desire must also be not found here. That is why the surgery must continue. The Dr knows of our great need and will not stop at our first protests. Or our next. Trust, it is a hard thing to one that is wounded. How many miscarriages before you stop trying? Before you stop trusting?
Trust in the dark times reveals the stars that do not show in the times of light. So too, the pain of the dark times reveals the stars of the one so wounded in the day time. It is then, also that the star that comes to lend aide, and to “weep with the one that weepeth”, will also arrive. It may not be the one that you expected. It may be the stranger. But they were now visible in the darkness. One will even become the stationary one that acts as a direction pointer. It is as it has always been. You do know that for nearly all of history there was no thing called an “anesthetic”. Wounds, births, stitches, surgery, amputations… all without a way to dull the pain. We, the modern ones, wish for the numbness such that we can “ease the suffering” of a dentist visit or any of a myriad of little inconveniences in life. Like trust. We numb trust to avoid the pain of truth, told or heard… You know what I say is true because you cringed… you know your last version of this, and you remember. So do I.
I don’t have an easy answer for you. I will only say what I know is true. Lean into it when it is dark, and the pain is the only light that you see. It will get smaller as you do, but generally not as fast as you wish. The leg will not grow back, and sometimes the friend will not stop their behavior. But ignoring it or pretending will not help. Lean in. It is all that you can do that will bring life back. It is all any of us can do. Trust. Trust that the pain is real, that it will not cease soon and that the cause was a surprise. Trust in that knowledge, if nothing else, and you have taken the first step to healing. At least you moved away from denial. It is a step.
You will only be responsible for your part of this. Do the least bad that you can in the midst of the screaming silence of your bleak experience. That is worthy of at least trying. I talked to a man about his 12yr old daughter getting a message on the answering machine from a woman that called to tell him that his wife as messing with her husband… not the message he wanted his daughter to play, but she did…. So, after the divorce and the anger settled in deep, he now goes to the bars and takes the wives of other men to bed to cause as much pain in the world as he can rationalize… It only makes sense when you go back to the beginning of this piece. We are emotional beings that have the chance at using logic… but sometimes the blinding anger prevents the rational side from engaging.
Be careful as you walk through your day. There are wounded folks that need a star to show up in their dark places. Perhaps you are one…
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