Intense emotional pain often isolates us. In our society today , which demands an absence of paint and a totally unrealistic demand for ‘safe spaces’, we might not even want to admit our pain to others. Some respond with anger as a way of fending off pain they feel entitled not to have. Both of these responses isolate us from others.
I’m a seasoned citizen and at my ripe, and I hope, discerning age, I’ve met people who have had real emotional wounds inflicted on them by others. They’ve been sexually abused, which is akin to murder of the psyche, except the victim must go on living. They grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic or drug addict who destroyed everything that was meaningful and good in the family. A parent, or parents abandoned them when they were young. They or a loved one was severely physically injured by the actions of another; or a loved one was murdered or committed suicide. These types of situations cause real, deep emotional pain and often result in lasting soul wounds…damage to the psyche. And, of course, there are other situations, just as emotionally devastating.
I’m talking here to people with real, obvious, deep emotional pain. It is plain to see the world is corrupted by sin. Even the nonreligious will admit this. Jesus said that we would have suffering int this life, in this world.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 [NASB]
Over the years, I’ve talked to folks who have had real, deep emotional pain inflicted upon them by others or by life situations. They’re pain is very real. The inciting incident was not imaginary. It did happen. Their family member was maimed or killed by a drunk driver. Their husband did cheat on them and remove all funds from their joint account before filing for divorce. Yes, the pain is very real. But, what I’ve learned is that way down at the bottom of it, shame is attached. People think: if I had been worthy I wouldn’t have been put up for adoption; there was something flawed about me that made him sexually abuse me and in fact he told me exactly that over-and-over.
This attached shame prevents the injured one from sharing with others, or even if they do share intellectually, on an emotional level they continue to condemn themselves. This self-condemnation is a killer. It binds people in heavy emotional chains. What is needed, in my humble opinion, is a total transformation of the mind away from condemnation. Self-condemnation and condemnation of others is a soul killer. No matter who you condemn, yourself or others, you’re destroying your own soul’s health and destroying joy.
As a Christian, I turn to some of the great Christian teachers when I feel a case of self-condemnation or condemnation of others coming on. And I do, and have had cases of self-condemnation or condemnation of others. Of course I have. I’m human. At those times, I click away on my TV remote until I land on a Christian show featuring the teachings of Joyce Meyers, T.D. Jakes, Paul Daughtery, and many others. I personally find a good word for healing there.
What brought this article on was the passing, three weeks before Christmas, of my husband Joseph D. Chillemi. I, in my human limited mentality, thought this would be the worst Christmas ever. But the whisper of the spirit of Christmas, gently wrapped around me as if I were in swaddling clothes and kept me safe as a baby. It was Jesus, coming to me as the baby Jesus, who I encountered…as hope, light, love. So, yes, I was in a state of deep soul searing pain, and yet, Christmas was all about love and joy for me. This year, I learned how the spirit of the Christmas season so often touches nonChristians. How is that possible I would experience this when in deep mourning? I have to chuckle here, because my God can do for His people two or more things at once. [a wee jest there] He invented multitasking.
And so, the Lord had me write this article about deep pain as a way to honor my husband.
Joseph D. Chillemi; July 30, 1951 – December 8, 2016; husband, father, son, friend, social worker