Lack of understanding about trauma and its treatment in my sphere of relationships led to a felt sense of rejection that led to a loneliness for which I wasn’t prepared. Some of those closest to me thought I was being self-centered, a truly unchristian virtue. Others simply stepped away because they didn’t understand. Very few people continued to walk beside me.
I walked through “the valley of the shadow of death” and learned to face horror without fear because the presence of my Shepherd was more real than any trauma I had experienced. (Psalm 23:4) I knew that I was “planted in the house of the Lord (His love); and “[flourished] in the courts of our God (His presence)”. (Psalm 92:13) Seeing I Corinthians 13:4-6 as God’s love for me began to seep into a place deep within me that had been cold and dark for so long. The few who continued to walk with me listened as I shared the frightful, bewildering, and beautiful things that were happening in my soul; held me as I released long-held emotions with sobs I didn’t know I had the capacity for; and prayed for me with a faith that reminds me of the four friends who broke through the roof of a house to get their lame friend to Jesus. They are the ones that witnessed the agonies and the victories. They have seen the amazing love of God in Jesus at work in a person’s life.
As my healing continued I was eager to share my experience with family and friends at church. I was surprised to find a lack of interest or understanding. I was met with questions that I didn’t know how to answer, and my explanations seemed to cause more confusion. There didn’t seem to be an interest in learning about the psychological damage done by trauma or how to help those affected by it. Family became distant. Friends no longer had time for conversation after a church service or to meet for a visit. I felt ostracized because I couldn’t work in the nursery, teach a Bible study, or help organize a women’s event. When I voiced how I was feeling, I was told that I needed to trust the Lord for my emotional needs, not people. The question that began coming to my mind more often was, “If all I need is the Lord, and I don’t need people, then why do I have to stay here? Why can’t I just go Home?” That question became more and more logical in my mind as days spent alone turned into weeks and months. I had the means to end the loneliness and live with the One Whose presence I could only know by faith on Earth. But I had made a promise to Roland that I would not take my own life. As I continued healing, I became more and more lonely.