Growing, changing, becoming, emerging…
These have colored my speech and my experience recently, partly by choice, mainly by providence. I’m learning to comply with the aspects of emerging that are not within my power to control: the pain, the unknown. I’m learning to appreciate the surprises that, for so long, I failed to even notice. I’m learning to continue to become despite the chest-tightening, oppressive, unutterable fear.
The sounds of emergence are of breaking, shattering, tearing, ripping. The tastes are sanguine and salty. The sights are blurry and confusing, too bright to fully set one’s gaze upon. The sensations are chilling, brisk, unconfined, indefinite. The smells reminisce of a recent cleansing rain.
Emergence is awakening. Awakening and knowing. I was lulled to sleep slowly and methodically over many, many years. Denial, self-pity and fear protected the slumbering me. Life’s cruelty labeled me a victim. A victim of so many. And I believed. I learned to live asleep, dead. I was the walking dead, less familiar with myself than with the strangers I passed daily. Yet I threw myself (arguably futilely) into ushering others to places of self-awareness. I was a stranger to myself, and consequentally a stranger to everyone else who thought they knew me.
I was taking an hour and a half road trip with friends a few months ago. We missed a turn and as a result the trip ended up taking seven hours. I needed every extra second. We became engaged in a conversation about why I am so resistant to anyone saying anything good about me. About why I am not embarassed at all by the divulgence of my worst failures, yet I become completely discomposed by the slightest praise of what I have come to refer to as my “glory”.
I believe that all are created with glory, that which makes us resplendently beautiful and magnificent, that which brings the Creator to his feet, that which causes him to look on us with delight. It is not hard for me to identify the glorious in others, even in those who have personally caused me quite a bit of suffering. But I have historically had a hard time accepting that others see the same in me. I wouldn’t say that I thought that I’m altogether wretched, but there has been something in me that does not want to hear that which is good, though I know and agree that it exists.
For seven whole hours my friends waited for me to answer one question. Why is it so hard for you to acknowlege your glory?
I tried to answer. I cried. I stalled. I changed the subject. I wrestled. I fought. I resisted. I succumbed. I stayed silent. I swallowed my words over and over and over again. I didn’t want them to leave my lips because if I never believed that words have power, I did that day. I knew that once the words escaped my lips, the layers of my cocoon would be disrupted and torn. I knew emergence would begin and there would be no turning back. After seven hours and having to write the words down before I could say them, they finally escaped from my lips:
Acknowledging my glory calls me to believe that I am not:
- a victim of multiple sexual abuses,
- a victim of an adulterous marriage,
- a victim of abusive religion,
- a child of an alcoholic parent,
but that I was created for more that has little if anything at all to do with the sum total of my suffering.
That was the day I began to emerge. It was the day I acknowledged that beneath the pain of life’s disappointments is a person I am only beginning to know. It’s a maddening process to learn to be who you always were while unlearning to play by the rules of the you you’ve only pretended to be.
Dragonfly symbolism crosses and combines with that of the butterfly and change. The dragonfly symbolizes going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing. Dragonflies are a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity.
Sainthood emerges when you can listen to someone’s tales of woe and not respond with a discription of your own. ~ Andrew V. Mason