I've not blogged or even written or talked with friends much recently. Part of that reason is simply busyness, but that is only a small part. I've been busier before and managed to blog and stay connected.
Another part is that I feel a profound sense of being disconnected.
Some of this is normal for this time of year and the events going on. We melted into our "home" when we were on home assignment, and leaving again was difficult. We arrived here to some chaos (normal, isn't it?). We had our annual team meetings which are awkwardly scheduled over our first weeks home, the kid's first weeks in school, and my birthday - adding to the general sense of chaos. Our team meetings remain difficult for me as they bring me face to face with people and an organization which badly handled the trauma we've been through... furthering my sense of disconnect. I still struggle here - flashbacks, pain, and a deep sense of aloneness.
However, in and among the different meetings that we held and ones that we had to travel to were some interesting crossing of paths with people. Proof to me that God continues to care, to see, and to work towards healing.
I think this summer was the first time my husband and I had healed enough to actually state what should have been obvious to us - we're suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. I know, I know, I should have known that by now, but that is the whole thing about suffering from it - it numbs the mind. This summer, surrounded by the love and ears of our home church, we began to heal enough to realize that we are hurting.
For us, it is not easy. Both my husband and I have survived serious trauma as children - different things, but trauma nevertheless. PTSD, unlike chicken pox, seems easier to catch the second time around.
We focused so much on surviving that first year - surviving the day to day life with our unique team and their unique responses to the events, surviving as a family and watching our children to see how they were, surviving as a couple - knowing how much we could and couldn't talk to each other about it at any given time, surviving as members of an mission group and trying to come to terms with what did and did not happen and how we should respond to it all.
We survived. The year was not easy. It was full of other tragedies, watching others suffer, difficult things which took our energy to deal with and help in. There was no time to stop and ask, "How am I doing with this load?" It wasn't really a year to heal - just to survive wave after wave of fresh trauma.
It is over.... we hope. It seems quiet. We hope. I know there are other things going on, but as bad as this sounds, we are not paying attention to every story we hear right now. We are trying now, now that it is quiet, to recover.
Part of that was realizing that we are suffering from these lovely four letters - PTSD. It is actually a relief to be able to say that to each other, to others. To acknowledge it. To have a framework for the lingering struggles we have. To be able to look towards the steps out of it.
It is a relief, too, to see God orchestrating these special crossing of paths. A relief because it is proof that we are not invisible to Him. Proof that God is able to care even when people fail. That fact alone brings comfort and tears. Tears because there is real pain involved in much of this. Comfort because I see God beginning to work, and the relief is similar to the relief shown on a child's face when they catch sight of their parent looking for them after they were lost in a store.
He's still here. And in the middle of all the trauma that has swirled around us over these last years, He's looking for us in the mist. That brings relief.
I don't know the path out. I've never set out on this journey before. It is frightening. I'm confused. But I have confidence in the One who has come looking for me. I've walked with Him out of other pain, too. I'm not out yet by a long shot, but I am getting to my feet.