The Healing Journey Part Two: Open Your Heart
The second time I ran away from home was only a few days before Christmas. I don’t even remember what started it. Dad was mad about something I did or didn’t do and kept me (and probably everyone else in the house now that I think about it) up all night long as he lectured me about how I needed to repent from my sin.
The following morning, I decided to leave home. I was 18 and legally old enough to do – it was a “simple” matter of getting out. I packed a bag with as much as I could stuff in there and then I got a trash bag and put some more stuff in there. Clothes, shoes, and a few keepsakes were important to me. I got my dog, Solomon on his leash and told my dad I was leaving and he couldn’t stop me. I think he didn’t believe I would actually go through with it and first he just told me to leave because I didn’t belong in his house anyway. I started down the hall from my room, as he followed, lecturing me about my need to repent from the devil’s ways. By the time I reached the stairs he was furious and started yelling and throwing things down the hall and then at me as I dragged my bags and the dog down the stairs. The CD player came crashing down on me when I reached the bottom and headed for the door. Crying by this time, I just put my head down and kept going. Carrying far too much, I started dragging the bags behind me, determined not to leave behind any of my things, and almost panicked when the dog tried to run off. I knew he wouldn’t be safe if my dad found him. I tied the leash to my wrist so I could use my hands.
It was almost two miles of walking down the driveway and the dirt road to a neighbor’s house where I could finally knock on the door and ask to call my grandfather to come get me. I stayed with my grandparents for several days before my dad finally made me come home again. Refusing to talk to anyone about why I was so upset, my grandparents didn’t understand what was wrong. I didn’t know how to tell them the truth about what my father was doing to me, so I just didn’t talk at all. I closed down my heart completely. I didn’t know how to deal with the fact that my father, the one person I should have been able to trust, was the one person I was most afraid of. The one who should have protected me was the one person who hurt me the most. I thought if I refused to admit that there was pain, there wouldn’t be any.
It wasn’t true, of course. Pretending something didn’t happen to me or didn’t hurt wouldn’t make it go away, it just made me start building a wall up around my heart. Brick by brick I started building a hard shell so that no one could ever reach me. Telling myself I was tough, I succeeded only in lying to myself.
“I understand now that the vulnerability I’ve always felt is the greatest strength a person can have. You can’t experience life without feeling life.” Elisabeth Shue
Those who are truly strong aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. They are able to open up their heart and let others in. They know that it’s ok to hurt and it’s ok to cry. They also know that it’s ok to love and it’s ok to laugh. They aren’t afraid to let others in and experience not only the pain but also the joy and happiness that life has to offer. John Eldredge said, “It takes great courage to be vulnerable.”
I still don’t like to admit when I’m down or sad or upset. But, I’ve learned that it’s ok to be sad, down or upset and then I can work to overcome it. Only a strong person can admit weakness. Whatever you are going through or have gone through, admitting and acknowledging your feelings is an important step to take in healing from them.