#17 Clear Out Emotional Clutter

It’s been a while since my last blog, and I figured it was about time for another post. I never seem to finish what I start and I’m determined I can make it through this one goal. I know I can!

‘Clearing emotional clutter helps you live life more freely from the heart’.

I have always told people and tried to convince myself that pain is liberating because it reminds you that you are alive.

This year I’ve had plenty of painful reminders that I’m alive.

January 11, 2011 I became an aunt to Mikah Skye McLain. The most beautiful joyful baby you’ve ever met. And I love him. I dare say that I love him as my own, but being that I have never had a baby I feel that is a claim beyond my grasp of understanding. There were complications in the birth and Mikah was resuscitated and my sister began a long healing process of her pelvis that was separated during delivery. To say Mikah brought joy into our lives would be the biggest understatement that I’ve ever made. Beyond the joy of being an aunt I felt as though I had my sister back in my life. The two of us were never as close as I wanted, mostly because we lived very different life-styles. I don’t think either of us doubted that we loved each other, we just weren’t highly involved in each other’s lives. She moved from the hospital in FL back in with my parents in OH, bringing her geographically close enough to me that I could take weekend visits to help her with what she needed and smother Mikah with more love then he was already getting.

Then Jon came into the rest of my life. My relationship with him put understanding into the phrase that ‘when you know, you just know’, and truth to ‘it happens when you least expect it’. I will spare any gushy details and just say that his timing was perfect and inconvenient. Perfect in the sense that the LORD was providing for me in a way that I didn’t know I would need, and inconvenient because Jon wasn’t a part of MY plan and the direction I was prayerfully taking for my life.

In addition to the many things Jon has been juggling recently, on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2011, I received the news that little Mikah didn’t wake up. The phone call you know you will eventually get one day about a parent, or a grandparent, and eventually siblings, and it will be heartbreaking. But your 4 month old nephew… you are just never quite prepared. You hear stories of parents losing their children at a young age, and I am so thankful that Mikah’s passing was in his sleep and not by way of an automobile accident, or sickness, etc. He’s spared from all the hurt and pain this world has for us. But you also mourn for the life he could have had. The birthday parties we never got to celebrate. The soccer games that will never happen. The memories are so few and are full of his infant and dependency on whomever is taking care of him. But never a bad memory either. 3am feedings helping my sister. Waking up and holding him while he is snuggling. Falling asleep on your chest. His lip that quivered when he cried, which was only when he was hungry and needed his diaper changed. His little giggle. The look of recognition when you took him from someone or he heard your voice.  And I was only the aunt that got to see him about a week out of the month. My heart breaks and grieves for my sister, and my mind can’t grasp what she is going through.

Mikah not only made me an aunt, he set me on the path to emotional healing and freedom. We all have growing pains, and all deal with them differently. I bottled mine up and decided I didn’t want to deal with them, which eventually led to not being quite sure how to differentiate the emotions from each other to deal with them. It’s not easy to express love, not unconditionally. There’s so much risk involved and it’s unnatural for us as humans. But a baby, babies are easy to love, and you can love them fearlessly because it’s not a two-way relationship and expectations cannot be unmet. Were it not for Mikah, I truly do not believe that I would have been able to trust and fall so easily for Jon. Not to say that I love Jon because of Mikah, but that Mikah allowed me to fearlessly love again. And there’s so much redemptive power in that love that you are more willing to take risks. And being able to take that risk on Jon stretches me and gives me more reward than is possible outside a relationship that is seeking unconditional love, acceptance, and forgiveness, and grace. One day at a time. Each failure tackled and handled better the next time… hopefully.

“The shell must break before the bird can fly.” Tennyson

Emotional Clutter really can keep you from living. Being overly emotional, and lacking emotions. As everything in life there is a balance to find, and work to keep getting better at it. To find the balance and realize that in all things contrast is so important. The pain and joy that have been going on the last six months have been in stark contrast to each other, and although I wish all the pain could be removed I know that the LORD can and is being glorified, and that without that contrast of pain I wouldn’t begin to truly understand real joy, peace and love.

Grief is a funny thing. Your range of emotions switches to without warning, and then all emotions happen at once. Until you really grieve yourself, true empathy is near impossible. But grief brings healing as well. For the situation you are grieving, and all the facets of life that are intertwined with it. I don’t know that grieving ever ends, because life blossoms out from it. But we have to let ourselves be broken.

Brokenness… that’s the hardest part, and the most rewarding.

“Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.”