In essence, she said, "When a woman comes into the ER, bleeding out from a gunshot wound and then the shooter follows in behind her, who gets the attention? The gunman, naturally. All hands run toward the gunman while the woman bleeds out."
Sometimes metaphors are nice and helpful... this one was. But it was also painful.
I felt a surge of longing: where was this metaphor when I was bleeding out?
I felt a surge of gratitude: there are women in this room bleeding out, and this is making perfect sense to the invisible pain pouring from their hearts. Thank you, God.
Who, then, stops the bleeding? Who applies comfort and nourishing attention to patient unable to comfort and nourish themselves?
I think we all have our own answers. For some, it is a dear, sacred friend. For some, it is a sister, a mother, a neighbor.
For me, it was a shifting figure... but in the depths of my rock bottom, it was really just me heavily bleeding and apologizing for it.
I made such a mess.
No one cleaned anything.
The kids ate whatever, watched whatever.
I tried to fold laundry that one time...
My triage stay was longer than average.
After a time, I moved into a sort of hospital room. Now I'm in the thick of physical therapy. My support team is proud of me, cheering me. They listen, they love. My sponsor is tugging at all of my wounds, pushing me. I'm uncomfortable, and sometimes I feel like my sponsor doesn't like me at all.
I mean, if she did, why would she stretch me like this?
Later on, I realize the stretching was for my benefit and I'm grateful.
Between appointments, I find I need better food and more sunshine.
When I'm feeling confident, I return to the figurative street where I used to live... a bombed-out war zone. I kick the bricks and sift through papers, broken glass.
There are shards of things I want to keep, but as I survey the scene, I can't help but wonder, 'who was the girl who felt all of this was vitally important?'
I don't recognize her anymore, not fully. And once upon a time, I treasured that rubble. But I wouldn't trade it for anything now.
Would I go back to the way it was?
When the only thing Danny and I had to talk about was the neighbors?
When I cared more about my figure than my character?
When I flinched and shrunk?
When I stood for nothing except outside validation?
When God was in the wings, quiet and patiently waiting while I carried out a performance for the sole purpose of feeding on the applause?
I wouldn't go back there. What's more, I feel a strange sort of tugging sensation, as if there's an unpaid debt owed.
But to who? To what?
That which brought destruction opened a door that wouldn't have opened otherwise.