|More about him in a moment.|
Touched and fearful I was. Twelve people lined up, facing me. One at a time, they shared the good they saw. In. Me.
It was hard. Taking it in. As the waves of their com-passionate words
washed over me I felt long-sought tears emerging.
By the penultimate person's affirmations, I could not hold back these droplets of healing.
Then, a surprise. The exercise was done. So I thought. The instructor said, "Wait!" She scooted, standing in front of me, now. She did not do this with the other six students who went before.
With a gentle smile, she said, "The good I see in you is you are an innocent and sensitive man." She embraced me. I hugged her back.
That did it. Tears poured as I made my way to my seat. A fellow student next to me gently rubbed my back, letting me know the compassion she had for me. I was the only crybaby during that exercise.
What's wrong with me? You'll find out. Read on.
Crying more, I am. That's good. I am thankful for being sensitive.
I hid my vulnerabilities for years. As a child, it wasn't safe, being vulnerable. I turned my soul into a walnut.
That way, I could not get hurt. Mercilessly, I was teased by my siblings, when growing up. I was shamed and physically hurt by my dad.
In elementary school, starting in the fifth grade, I was laughed at. In class. I had a speech impediment, the result of being changed from left-handed to right.
That happened when I was ten. At the time I thought I was stupid because of the way I spoke. I could not say words correctly.
I was brain damaged. My tongue got twisted up. Every night, in my bunk bed, I prayed. I asked God to help me not be stupid.
Affirming people everyday, is what I do. Natural, gentle, insightful, practical encouragement is my profession. Saturday. during this exercise, while getting training, I saw this was going to happen to me.
They did it to the other six students, first. Filled with fear I was, knowing I would have my turn, where they were going to affirm me. Does that surprise you, my readers, fellow guests of this inn?
Saturday, vestiges of my wounded heart took over my emotions. During this exercise it happened. My normal reasonable self was incredulous when I heard their positive comments.
Why would others line up, to say good things about me? A violent war took place within, as I faced the line of people. I was terrified.
My emotions overrode logic. Fear rode over my education. And here, they were saying positive things about me. Me. My heart disregarded the love received at that moment.
Decades of past pain overtook three decades of personal work on my weaknesses. Fear overcame professional training. My recovery work failed me during this crisis moment on Saturday.
The principles of Al-Anon Family Groups did not rescue me. The little Pablo surfaced. The fearful, damaged me.
Was I surprised. I was in the grip of a violent, fear-inducing, four hundred pound gorilla. His name, Abuse.
It was he who pounded the joy and hope out of me, as a little boy. He did this on a daily basis. It was this gorilla who robbed me of innocence, when young.
"You are undeserving," he screamed after each person in the line praised me. "This is a sham, not true!" this vicious primate yelled when a person gently said what they liked about me. If I was ever close to insanity, it was Saturday night. During this exercise.
I stood there calmly as reality and abuse played tug-of-war with my heart. My heart could not comprehend what was happening. Cold sweat formed on the back of my head as I listened to each person.
Anxiety produced from past terrors filled me with dread. I knew Halloween was approaching, but I did not know its goblins would haunt me a week early.
What was the balm that provided healing from this gorilla of abuse? Affirming words from others. And my tears.
I felt the ghost of long suppressed fearful feelings. I faced them. I recognized their terrible power.
How they throttle me, emotionally. Even while being encourag-ed! This happens when I don't confront these fears and pain with truth.
It happens if I am not mindful of who I truly am. This takes place when I overlook the amazing qualities of my life.
I was unfettered from my painful past by the love received Satur-day. The hugs from those with me combatted past terrors. Their affirming words healed old wounds.
Each tear shed washed away a moment of terrible pain. This healing is not gotten living alone. Nor does it happen when we live within our heads, allowing false beliefs to assault us. Chains of past pain were shattered that Saturday by love received from a community, the people I was with that day.
I was made whole this weekend by the soothing presence of com-passion. It is not derived by isolating, playing with electric devices. Healing requires a human touch, being soothed by the compassion received from others.
It emerges when I bond with healthy, supportive others. It is born from community. Immersing ourselves with others who have hearts of love is the only way that frees us from past pain and fear.