Trauma: (noun) A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.
Miracle: (noun) A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and therefore is considered to be the work of a divine agency.
Can a trauma and a miracle occur simultaneously? Is it the absence of trauma that defines a miracle? Is it the absence of a miracle that defines trauma? Does acknowledging trauma reveal a lack of faith? If trauma defines a moment, does that necessitate that the goodness of God can’t also define that moment? And, does acknowledging the presence of BOTH the traumatic and the miraculous at the same moment make someone a fraud? I’m not sure. My paradigm is mid-shift.
I do believe we were created to walk as Adam did, in uninterrupted life-sustaining fellowship with The Father. Death is foreign to us. Our spirits weren’t designed to have a scope for it. We were created to live alive. Death, loss, and destruction are traumatic because we weren’t created for them. Gods original design for us did not include a filter to process trauma because we weren’t originally ldesigned to encounter trauma.
Yet we do.
My brother was 6 and I was 11. I was riding in one car and my brother was riding in another car in front of me. I had a great view of the car that came out of nowhere and smashed my little brother. I watched my dad unbuckle my brothers limp body and lay him on the street in front of me. I watched my tough-guy-karate-instructor dad begin crying over my crumpled up brother.
I don’t have a memory of paramedics loading my brother into the helicopter, but I do remember hearing that he had signs of a severe brain stem injury. It was bad. It was really bad. And I had watched the whole thing. What’s worse, I was supposed to be in that car. I had switched with my brother last minute.
When he miraculously woke up from a coma a few days later, my brother confidently told us of the angel by the window that had been watching over him.
That accident was deeply distressing…AND his waking up was unexplainably welcome. But what did I take with me? Trauma. Only trauma. And it compounded…
Sadly, my perfect, blond, adorable little brother experienced a few more freak accidents over the next few years. He was in and out of the hospital many times throughout my childhood. I spent a lot of time in front of the giant marble machine at Akron Children’s hospital rehearsing how I would say goodbye to him.
The pain of loving someone so much, yet now knowing the reality that people can be violently ripped out of this world became too much. Trauma was being built upon a foundation of trauma. I was faced with a choice: withdraw, or shatter. I chose to withdraw.
My brother was at the point of death a few times during that season. Yet, each time he miraculously pulled through. There’s no scientific way to explain how everything was orchestrated in such a way to result in life for him. With my own eyes I saw him healed and living his best life.
But I wasn’t there living my best life with him. I had left part of myself sitting at the marble machine laying bricks. Trauma was the enemy. It could shatter me. So I must keep trauma out at all cost. Those bricks built a fortified wall behind which I could withdraw from life and hide from trauma.
The funny thing about hiding behind a giant wall is that we have the illusion that we are keeping out trauma. In reality what we are really doing is keeping out love. Love is a person. The little girl who almost lost her brother again and again had been separated from the Source of Love since childhood.
Was I aware of this? NOT AT ALL! I have seen too many miracles to consider that I might be carrying around a giant wall in my heart. It didn’t seem possible! I experience sooooo much joy. I’m fearless. I climb mountains and conquer white water. I’m a new creation, and I’m doing great!
But there was more trauma…and more bricks…
I had a freak head-on collision with a semi truck in 2000. I had a cancer diagnosis in 2008. Face-to-face with my own mortality, I chose to fortify my wall. I had a miscarriage in 2018. More bricks! Death and loss couldn’t find me now! Ha ha ha!
When I had my 3rd child, the fragility of life was once again screaming in my face. The familiar sting of trauma crept up on me and began to scale the wall that I didn’t know was there. I had to survive. My kids needed me to hold it together and not shatter. So I laid more bricks.
I learned the art of building and hiding. Building and hiding. Building and hiding. I became a Master Builder. My wall was pretty, so no one saw what lay crouching behind it. There I was. A scared, traumatized girl. Alone. Cut off from The Source of Love. Unaware that there was an epic adventure on the other side of hiding.