“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.'” (Psalm 55:4-6)
Years ago, ending a healthy pregnancy, I found myself hurried into surgery for an emergency C-section. A few hours later, our firstborn child died. I had desperately wanted a child and was devastated by his death. Each evening my husband would sit and hold me in his arms while I sobbed out my loss. One, evening, I remember feeling as if I were outside my body, dispassionately watching this pitiful scene. My emotional pain was so great that I left my body. I dissociated.
We all dissociate in small ways every day. We smile or laugh when we talk about painful experiences. We drive for miles and don’t remember stopping for lights. We daydream to escape the tedium of daily life.
Dealing with the stress of physical pain, waiting on scary diagnoses, undergoing unfamiliar testing and uncomfortable treatments, and coping with the losses that chronic illness and pain impose, we become overwhelmed, frightened, discouraged, anxious, and depressed.
God instilled in each of us the ability to create ways to deal with overwhelming pain. If you dissociate, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you. It means that you are experiencing overwhelming pain and are creating distance to protect yourself.
Dissociation is one of God’s gentle gifts for troubled times.
David chose a dove–a symbol of peace–as his longed for means of escape. To find even brief moments of rest in the midst of the turmoil and uncertainty of chronic illness and pain can be restorative.
Prayer: Gracious God, be my wings when I am no longer able to keep my spirits aloft. Help me fly away into Your arms of comfort.
About the Author:
Linda Elmore Teeple writes passionately about her personal foibles and flub-ups-and God’s gracious response. Happily married to Rex, Linda also enjoys being Mom, “Nina” (grandmother) and an almost-retired family therapist. She loves dogs, nature and dark chocolate. Fibromyalgia, arthritis and multiple spine issues challenge her to seek God in the midst of life’s challenges. You can connect with Linda at http://natureofgrace.blogspot.com/.
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When and how has God blessed you with an “I’ll fly away” experience?