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The Year Begins (a month late) - A Bible and a Bat'leth
Two double-edged swords, one angry peacemaker.

Date: 10:15 pm Fri 8th of Feb, 2013
Subject: The Year Begins (a month late)
Security: Public
Tags:activism, brokenness, church, community, healing, heterosceptical, work
In which our hero lays out his personal manifesto for The Year of Healing

It's February 8th already, but I feel like this year has only just gotten underway. My Christmas break was extended in the UK, then time in Chicago at the CPT January 2013 Training. I love visiting the training, meeting the new CPTers, and re-connecting with the Support Team based out of Chicago. However, it ate up the end of my January, even as things for 2013 started to manifest and demand attention.

Now I am back in Toronto, and able to take a look. And oh my, it's an insistent list. But, first things first. See the bigger picture. What is this year going to be about?

Last year was about revelation, surprise, activity, motion, despair, disappointment and things not turning out how they were supposed to. It was about love, and accepting successes and failures.

This year will be the year of sorting things out, the year of steady breathing, the year of sanity, the year of growth-and-betterment, the year of healing.

It's only when you're broken that you can start to mend. I heard that hint years ago and have carried it since. Last year I hit the edge of my resiliency; in fact I started the year in that precarious state. Thanks be to God and my fine team that we came out the other side more or less intact.

Revelations followed across the year. For one, I heard that it was important for me to stick around Turtle Island. I realised that I had to be willing to let go of certain ambitions about the UK. Part of that was about recognising my skills and knowledge in my current role. Simply enough; the stories I have heard here, the relationships I have built, and the struggles I've participated in are not things I can just hand over to the next teammate.

I connected deeply with some new friends. My connections with other friends waned. This shift of my social centre towards North America and away from the UK wasn't something I had sought. In some cases I felt that there was nothing to be done. In others, it was too difficult or complicated, and I understood too shallowly what was active in other's lives. In a few cases, I saw it happening and decided to let some things lie fallow.

But in this, and other revelations and adventures, I came into touch with some of my brokenness. Places where my soul was scarred or my mind cared not to look. Thankfully my body came through the year well - a few illnesses and many mosquito bites! But I found more than the usual self-assumed wounds and learned a bit more about how to care for myself.

So, this year will be the year of healing. Not to repair all my brokenness of course; that only happens in God's time and probably never completely. But I need to know how to cope, how to live in my revelations; which are fast becoming mentally and socially integrated as much as they are likely to be, but which still await the fullness of my spiritual life.

Brokenness in 2012:
I hit the end of my resiliency and learned that when I was operating in despair, I got caught in a spiral of acknowledging a problem, believing that there was nothing I could do about it, seeing the problem unfold, and withdrawing further. Taking a step back is a good thing to do, but I was unable to step forward again and reach out my hand. What I did manage to do was tell people about the problems I could see. Given that my allies were also running out of reserves, this did not help the situation.

I realised that I don't know what happiness is. That sounds like a melodramatic way of saying that I have not been happy, but in fact I have; only in October and November I was seriously asking what made me happy, and what happiness I had a right to expect. I still want to know these things, or at least to get a sense of where I ought to be seeking happiness, if I should be seeking it at all.

I faced an unpalatable truth that I had suspected a little before: I need to be needed. In some ways this is acceptable and right; but I saw tendencies to cultivate friendships with people who would need me. It's a subtle twist of the caring part of me, because it looks and feels great, but reinforces dependency and actually saps the resilience of others. It's a subtle manipulation, because I wouldn't ever force my way of doing things on someone else (except when I would), and this allows me some of that control with the pretence of being a selfless helper.

Towards the end of the year I found myself hit with sudden tears, deep sadness prompted by stories of hopelessness or utter despair. This is still new to me. I don't know what is behind it and it is hard to analyse. I have chosen to accept these tears as holy, if mysterious, ministry to the deeper parts of me.

Some of the things, even the really good things, that have happened to me have been out of my control. In some of the most important pieces of myself, especially relating to other people, I've felt without agency. For example, I might experience a particular emotion unbidden, or I refuse to force my way on someone else, or because I cannot see other ways for things to logically progress, considering the personality factors involved. So, sometimes what I do is withhold and withdraw and choose not to do something that would be good for me. Sometimes I'd rather chose something bad than be without choice.

I am holistically-challenged. I have ideas about being open and honest; but in truth I talk to specific people about specific aspects of myself, conducting analysis and accountability without ever facing the whole picture. Even things like this LiveJournal, which I decided way back in the day never to use friend-only posts, I have used to express things to some but not others, and certainly not everyone!

Healing in 2013:
I am going to seek after my healing in a couple of different ways.

For one; I really needed the sort of charismatic, free worship I experienced over the Christmas break when I visited my old churches in Ely. I have grown much broader in my tastes and experiences of worship, but not everything feeds my soul. That's a substandard metaphor; not everything exercises my soul, lets it run and breathe and delight. I've already found a way address this, but I need to persist.

For another I am going to maintain some kind of journalling. My copy of wretch, the radical Christian dayplanner (I know!) has been useful in that regard already. I haven't persistently tried this yet, but I think I can keep it up and benefit from it.

Addressing my lack of wholeness as regards other people - being a consistent human, flaws and all - is a tough one. My problem is not a lack of people to confide in and analyse with, but very many of them. I am going to have to let go of some of that control.

I'm up for some adventure. I know, right? I'd normally only go near adventure if it was labelled service, but opening up to emerging realities produced startling results last year. Frankly, some adventures terrify me, but already I can visualise a support network weaving and drawing close, so that when I come to take the first step, I won't even notice the risk until I'm fifty steps further on and running hard.

Finally; I want to do some good. I want this year to have a campaign or action point that I am going to remember because it was a victory, or the start of a victory. That could be all sorts of things... for evil is hard at work, and there's a lot that needs to be stopped. I have my team, my liberating God, and a self with a little more wisdom and capacity for love.

The year of healing isn't my healing alone - there's a lot more to be healed than one person. But this is what I am committing to now. It's my responsibility, and my sphere of influence, and I have neglected some care in the past. I trust that along the way I will do some good to others, and will not go alone very much of the year.
Share your thoughts | 2 considered opinions I I Link

User: spacklegeek
Date: 10:06 am Sat 9th of Feb, 2013 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
thanks for taking the time to collect and share your thoughts here. i wish you luck as you walk through this year. :)
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User: medievalshadow
Date: 11:46 am Tue 12th of Feb, 2013 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I give a thumbs up to this. If you ever want to chat about enabling, I'm right there with you. It's been a constant struggle for me my whole life long.
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