There are two working engines in this mind of mine. Running on simultaneous tracks, one is full of knowledge, the other rooted firmly in experience. What lies between is a fluctuating tension gap that causes unrelenting waves of anxiety, worry, unjust vulnerability, isolation. In the widest spaces, it can be a dreadful existence to have knowledge be so far from reality. In times where the two tracks cross and intertwine, there is blessed contentment.
In trauma reality is a force that won’t go quietly: it demands a space and confuses a mind. To know so fully the tools of therapy, the grace of a God who redeems, and the science of a working memory while concurrently living an existence that creates dissonance can be consuming. To ask God, “Where are you? Can you even hear me?” To begin to feel the tremors of aloneness…is a desolation too great to bear, and so we distract, we worry. We turn up the music to drown out the cacophony in the mind, we drink away the distress. We run.
Even the act of worry gets us out of the gap and pulls us away from the tension. We are trained so thoroughly to reject discomfort it becomes our single most focus.
In times when reality hijacks knowledge, it derails emotional well-being and confounds. It can lead to a darkness so full of worry, it is hard to call back the light. It is a nightmarish claw back to serenity. Unless we can shift the paradigm (the model) of what we can expect to experience in the tension.
What if I told you completeness is found IN the tension gap? That the gap between knowledge and reality is where we find healing; that it holds the promise of hope.
To remain in the moment and to feel exactly everything in that tension gap is a task. We have to practice mindfulness and vulnerability first to ourselves before we can even entertain moving this existence to our relationships. In order to create authentic relationship with ourselves, we must confront and accept our ultimate isolation and learn to sit with what that means. To let go of worry. To allow contemplation. To be comfortable with discomfort. Easy to say, harder to practice.
It is a cry out to a God that we are not even fully sure is accessible; and a wrestling with our theology. It is turning ourselves time and time again to face the God of our faith. To say, “My soul is weary with sorrow. Strengthen me (Psalm 119:28).” To be angry and reject the fact that something like this is even written, and yet to continue to turn back and plead for a release. Release will come, even if just for a moment “And [you] will answer the one who taunts (119:42)…” you will begin to see the end of darkness.
It is in these moments of ultimate loneliness that the reframing of our isolation can create in us a wholly healing perspective on desolation. Instead of pushing back and rejecting this space, try sitting quietly or hiking through nature. Become aware of what you see, what you hear, what your body is saying to you. There is beauty to be found in the isolation that you feel; in the tension gap between knowledge and reality you can find a place to grow in your ability to be more present to the life you so desperately want to live.
“My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life (Psalm 119:50).”