Our lives are a journey…an unknown path that we are traversing, daily, as we try to live our lives.
The idea that this path is known–not to me, but to a higher power–is new to me.
And yet, I cannot deny that the last year has been a series of choices that have continued to put me on a path towards growth and healing.
I’ve said, so many times over the last year, that I am so very grateful I walked into the counselor’s office that I did. This act, while difficult, has made a tremendous impact on my healing.
I remember, about a year ago, subbing for a local third grade teacher. This lady, a wonderful friend now, was someone I always saw as a bright ray of sunshine–in fact, there were times when I would seek her out, simply because I was in need of a hug and a smile, and she was always good for one.
On this day, she came into her classroom and I asked her how she was. I remember her being very honest about her struggle with anxiety and just telling me she had been in the emergency room because she had a panic attack. I felt such empathy towards her–but, also shock at her total openness and willingness to share. Especially knowing how happy and bubbly she always seemed.
Unbeknownst to her, I had been struggling with my own blossoming panic and anxiety. A week later, I sent her a message, begging her to tell me if anything had helped. How can I get rid of these panic attacks? I typed. Did you figure out anything that worked? She quickly responded back, asking if she could call me.
I picked up the phone as it rang, and listened to her talk, sharing my own pain and struggles and bawling into the phone. Yes, she said. I found something that worked. I found a therapist who does EMDR and it. REALLY. WORKS!!!
I told her to sign me up! I was all about a fast and easy fix. She gave me the therapist’s contact info and I held onto it.
A few days later, I got fed up with myself and the panic and I called. It was after hours. I got the voicemail…and promptly hung up. Then, realizing how dumb that was, I forced myself to call back and leave an awkward message. Next, of course, came the waiting game. I can’t recall how long it took–a few days, I think, but I do remember that I was substitute teaching that day, and kept missing her calls. Finally, at lunch, I got a hold of her and scheduled my first appointment. It was two weeks out.
The feeling at that moment was unique. It was full of hope and apprehension. Fear of the unknown and discomfort at meeting a stranger and confiding in her when I was such a mess. And also impatience. I had made the decision to ask for help—how could I wait TWO whole weeks?!
My appointment day rolled around and I arrived at the office thinking, Okay! You CAN do this. You believe in therapy. You need it.
Waiting rooms, when you have anxiety, can be hard. I sat in her small, comfortable waiting room and tried to convince myself to just breathe. You’re here! I thought. That is the most important step.
Within a few minutes, my therapist had come out to introduce herself and give me a form to fill out. She was still seeing a client, so I filled out my form and pulled out my phone, browsing the news. I noted the Christian music on the radio, and had a moment of panic, thinking–Oh crap! I know how religious this teacher is…did she refer me to a CHRISTIAN counselor??? Eyes big, looking around, I realized I would just suck it up for one session and see how this went.
Long story short–her client was in crisis. (I still wonder about him…always hoping he is okay after that day). She came out several times to check on me and let me know why there was such a delay. I had a choice–I could reschedule or stay there and wait.
Ooooh, if you know me at all, I am not a patient person. The idea of getting up and leaving that office, of the hope that it represented to me in that moment, seemed impossible. I couldn’t possibly wait another day for this moment. Nope, if I left, I probably wouldn’t come back.
Naturally, this made me feel sooooo uncomfortable, because I didn’t know what the therapist’s preference would be. I mean, did she want me to leave? Was my presence stressing her out because she felt hurried and would now have to work later?
But also, I didn’t want to seem willing to leave. So I politely said that I didn’t mind waiting–and hoped that this answer wasn’t the opposite of what she wanted to hear.
I look back on this moment now, a year (almost) into this counseling relationship, and smile. I wouldn’t hesitate to just say all of these feelings to her now—but that shows how much I’ve grown and come to trust her.
I believe, without a doubt, that I was led to her office during this moment of struggle. That I was meant to meet and strike up a friendship with the teacher who recommended her to me.
Just as, months later, I was led to the church that has become such a place of safety and happiness for me.
Lately, I have been struggling HARD with the unknown. I want to know what my future looks like. I want to know that I’ll have a job next year. People keep saying to me, There is a plan for you! You will end up exactly where you are meant to be.
Part of me wants to punch them every time I hear this.
And yet…Part of me also, after this last year, knows exactly how right they probably are.
I am healing. I am feeling things I’ve never felt. Stirrings in my soul. A hope that is new.
While the path has been pretty bumpy, it is also leading me to become a better, stronger, and more whole person. And I am so very grateful for that.
So, while it is against my very nature to trust the unknown and relinquish control–I am, once again, feeling led to do so.
Give it up…let it go. Believe that it will work out.
It always does.