We sang this song in church on Sunday
asking the “God of Miracles to come.”
That song had been in my head all week long
so I was excited to be able to sing it in church
because the whole “one heart. one voice”
this is still resonating with me
weeks… and weeks
after I first heard
Later in the service the pastor
wanted to pray for people
who were struggling with anger
and depression. He asked that
if this applied to you,
then stand so the church
could pray for you.
We were already standing
so the request felt weird…
but what happened next
surprised me even more:
I didn’t remain standing.
I sat down.
For most of my life I have
been angry and depressed.
Given the life I’ve lived;
the things I’ve seen;
the things that have been
done to me; and the bad
choices I made in response —
it has never surprised me
that I was so angry
or that I was so depressed
about being so angry.
The anger and the depression
warred with my soul and I
often wanted death to come
just to end my suffering.
Over the years I have tried
working on my anger. I’ve tried
counseling and therapy groups.
I’ve read books, prayed prayers.
I read the bible. I been prayed over.
I took medication and did meditations…
but nothing made the anger or the depression
go away which only made me more angry
and more depressed. I figured I’d go to my
grave a bitter and angry old woman.
And then the last few months God
gave me a plan that changed my life.
Literally. It literally changed my life.
Last week I sent my closest friends an
email highlighting some of the bigger changes
that God has brought about in my life
and they were shocked and awed (in a good way).
So when the pastor asked all the angry depressed
folks to stand up, I was surprised when I sat down.
I never miss an altar call to deal with those two impostors.
So as soon as I sat down I asked God why wasn’t I standing…
And he answered me.
I do not know if what I heard was
God’s audible voice. I’m inclined to think not,
but very clearly, spoken right into the very center
of my mind came the answer:
“Because you no longer struggle with anger.”
That’s when I realized that it was true.
I might get mad when somebody does
something unsafe on the road or when a
student makes a bad choice… but most people
would feel some anger. It’s fleeting. It doesn’t
control me…because the rage that used
to live just below my surface
After church somebody told me that she sees
my heart and there is a lightness to it that
wasn’t there before. My students are telling me
on a near daily basis what I mean to them and
how they are thankful for my presence in their lives.
Today is Costco a total stranger told me that I
had a beautiful smile.
I have a lot to smile about now.
And this is after going to the dentist today.
After my botched root canal a few years back, I hate going to the dentist. Though the oral surgery was nearly seven years ago, I have had dental pain pretty much every day of my life since then. I don’t often talk about my dental pain because what would be the point? There have been so many other, more pressing problems.
They tried to fix it five years ago. Another oral surgery. Evidently I have extremely long canine teeth. The exposed root was really far back and hard to get to. The surgeon had to drill into the base of the tooth just below my left nostril and cauterized an exposed root. I still have a scar. That surgery and the “recovery period” was a nightmare that came on the heels of my third abdominal surgery. The morphine that they were giving me in the hospital was not enough to dull the pain that my tooth was giving me. My mouth bled for days afterwards. I felt like I was dying. That the surgery didn’t make the pain go away seemed to be par for the course with my life. I thought I would just have to live with it.
My new dentist has x-rayed the area several times over the past few years and concluded that the flare ups were just that — flare ups. I would have to learn how to live with the pain. I was resigned to living with the pain… until last week when the pain got really extreme. Since it’s at the front of my mouth it made chewing and talking difficult. I’ve been using a topical anesthetic to numb it up so that I could close my mouth without pain. When I went to the dentist for my cleaning today she decided to x-ray it again.
I don’t know why none of the previous x-rays showed this… but today she saw a bit of exposed root that hadn’t been visible before. I had been in pain all these years because something was literally getting on my nerve. She was able to numb me up quickly (usually I need several shots before my gums are numb enough to work on, by which time I’m a hysterical mess) and she fixed it. Her explanation of what was wrong or what she did wouldn’t matter to you… but it meant the world to me. I have been suffering with this for most of the past seven years. I gave up hoping that it could be fixed. She said that I would be a bit uncomfortable for the next few days, but that I should feel a noticeable difference once my face was back to normal.
My face feels pretty damned good right now. It’s still a bit tender… but it feels different. The pain is fading.
At first I wasn’t going to blog anything. I wanted to wait a few days to see if it was really healed… and then I thought about it. It doesn’t matter how it might feel in a few days. In a few days it might feel wonderful. And if it does, then I will give more praise to God. But waiting for the blessing we might receive tomorrow should not negate the blessings that we actually received today.
Today I am feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically stronger than I have ever felt in years. The pains that I do still have are not unbearable and I have a ever growing hope for the healing that I’ve been praying for all these years. I feel like God not only gave me my smile back, but he gave me a ton of reasons why I should be smiling.
I didn’t stand on Sunday because there was no longer any need to. I am neither angry nor depressed. I could sit and be still on Sunday because I finally think I understand and know what it means to be still and know that God is God. How long that I hold on to this revelation isn’t important. What really matters is that I see it and know it today.
Today is January 16th, the day we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King in this country. And as corny as it sounds, the only thing ringing in my head is an anthem to the God of Miracles… “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I am free at last.”