She found herself staring at the back wall again. How long had she been staring in that fashion this time? It was such a weird feeling; her mind felt completely empty and overwhelmingly full at the same time. How do you process unexpected situations?
She felt like she got hit by a truck. All of the sudden, her marvelous morning had turned into an afternoon rushed with adrenaline. She didn’t know how to process the sudden change. Eventually her mind just gave up on thoughts and emotions and just settled in an empty void. Sadly, she couldn’t stay there forever. Although it felt like a bad dream, that situation was her reality.
The funny thing about tough circumstances is that they reveal deep thoughts that would have otherwise never been explored. As she sat alone, trying to think, deep questions arose in her head.
What does it mean to be strong? After that day, many of her friends had come to tell her of how strong she was. They marveled at how she pushed through the difficulties and stood firm while those around her seemed to crumble with emotions. Over and over they told her this, and yet she never truly believed it although she nodded and laughed with the group verbally. She was not strong. She was just trying to handle it like she had practiced in her head multiple times for fun during sleepless nights.
“How would I react if something bad happened?” She had thought many times before while lying in bed waiting for sleep to overcome her. She knew the facts and had imagined her response; although never in her wildest dreams did she think it would escape her imaginative fantasy and become reality.
That brought up another question. What does it mean to be calm under pressure? Sure, during that moment, she remained calm…on the outside. She tried to keep her voice steady, control her breathing, and stop her body from shaking. However, her mind (which always seemed to be her constant enemy) taunted her with frightened thoughts and horrific scenarios. She was calm, but not at peace. She knew how to turn off her emotions, momentarily, to get the job done. That is not always the best solution, though.
During the days afterwards, she struggled with a question that she had never truly had to face before. What does it mean to forgive? She couldn’t forget, although she desperately wanted to. Forgetting never truly eliminates the problem. It just contains it for a while. Through many days and nights of wondering, she came to the conclusion that forgiveness wasn’t forgetting; it was letting go. Forgiveness wasn’t an easy fix (like Ramen noodles or canned chili), it was a slow and deliberate process that took time and dedication (like a simmering stew or a well-done roast). She couldn’t expect herself to get over the circumstance easily, but it would come to her with the Lord’s help.
She stood up from her curled position on the floor in the corner of the room and decided to walk around campus. As she did so she couldn’t help but wonder if life would ever go back to normal. What was normal? Is there a normal? She supposed there wasn’t. Normal must be an ever changing feeling of stability that periodically gets moved. You can never go back to a normal you once had, because once you leave it it ceases to exist. You cannot hold on to it, you just have to keep searching to find it once again after it changes.
All of the sudden, it hit her. This experience, although it was unexpected and not at all what she would have wished for, had changed her as a person. It had given her new questions that needed to be answered in her mind. Although it would be hard to adjust to, life had not ended, it had just changed.
Her Lord had not changed, though. He is ever-constant. Her life-long mission was to follow Him no matter what and that meant trusting Him to use that situation for good, just like He had done a thousand times before.
She was strong when she trusted in Him. She was calm under pressure when she believed He had everything under control. She could forgive because He had forgiven her. He was, is and will always be her normal because He is enough. He was the answer.
He is her answer.