I have always been a spiritual person. I’m not sure why this is. I lived in foster homes and was adopted at a young age. I think God reached out to me as a child when no one else was there. I call the God of my understanding by a few names, Jesus Christ, the Creator, and Father. I don’t think I became aware of God because someone preached to me. I don’t like when I feel I’m being preached at or told what to believe. I know I knew this God in my life before I knew the name.
In some ways it has been a very simple relationship. In other ways, complicated because I tend to make it so. I have been down on my knees enough times to know that when it comes right down to it, I am nothing without God. I believe in destiny and I believe we each have one. I also believe in free choice.
Today I had a very hard day. I was reminded of traumatic things from my childhood and the result is shame. It feels crippling and it has had a huge impact on my life and choices I have made and still make. Shame has felt like a very powerful force in my life – in a way it is like a god, but not a good one. It demands to be reckoned with and it shows no mercy. I’m sure people die of shame. It starts as an awful feeling in my stomach and usually joins with fear. The result is that I feel like a stranger in my own life. I have trouble staying in the moment, I think obsessively, and it seems like I’m in some kind of strange time warp, like once I’m there, it feels like I’ve always been there and always will be.
Shame is very isolating and selfish. There are very few people I trust enough to reach out to when I am in this place. God is one of them. So today, as I struggled with shame, I spoke with a very good friend, a person I trust. I asked her to pray for me. She said as soon as she woke up this morning she felt God was asking her to pray for me. And this was before I called her. This is one of the many ways I have been blessed, despite my shame, in my walk with the Creator. No, the shame is not gone but I do feel less alone.
I have heard the saying, “monkey on your back”. Shame is my monkey. If there is a positive side to it, I have become a compassionate and non-judgemental person because of the things I’ve gone through. It also tends to remind me of being on the lookout for pride in my life. I have learned that feeling better or less than others is a form of pride. I have reached out for help throughout my adult life to try and heal from things in my childhood. This will be a lifelong journey for me but I do believe I am a kinder and wiser person because of it.
Why am I sharing this? I’m at the point in my life where I just want to be real. I don’t do surface stuff very well and I can’t help thinking that there are other people who deal with shame and feel very alone. I know that not everyone is understanding or even safe to be vulnerable with. But whoever and wherever you are out there, dealing with this struggle, you are not alone. It has been my experience that there are no “magic” answers or cures. Yes, I do believe in miracles and I believe they do happen. My journey, however, has been one of daily suiting up and showing up for life, sometimes in my nightgown, and being willing to learn how to love and be loved, just as I am.
Some days I do get to run and dance and on those days shame is there, but, the wind words, the stars, the beauty of a stallion running free or the cry of a raven is louder, brighter, closer, more real and I belong. And I smile, and give thanks to God, despite the shame, despite my brokenness and flaws, and it is in this gratitude that I embrace my destiny.
Deana Lafleur 2018