The kids had their baccalaureate service this afternoon. It was our church’s turn to host. Josh was the liturgist and the pastor who married us served as the preacher. It was nice to see the kids walk in wearing their caps and gowns. The processional hymn was Christ Be My Leader. We used to sing it together but I don’t remember where. I didn’t bother trying to tough my way through the service.

I went to the cry room and watched it from there. The crying happened and then I was fine again, without the heavier feeling of trying to hold in your emotions. They have rocking chairs in the cry room with a speaker you can adjust, which makes the services more comfortable in times like this. Everything relaxed and I was grateful for the chairs, for the room, for all that has kept me and provided a refuge.

There was a voter’s meeting later tonight. Everyone else stayed here this time. There were people coming into the camp that needed checking in and added directions. Staff training starts this Wednesday already, which is hard to believe but also not. When the meeting, almost two hours long, was over, I came home. Josh was cleaning up the kitchen. I gladly ate the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner.

It’s surprising how much rage can still be suddenly present at a moment’s notice. Anger is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn to curb. Pain and that kind of consuming anger go hand-in-hand. I’ve been blessed with the gift of strong emotions which doesn’t feel like a gift when the emotions are painful. A book that helped give a name to the feeling was The Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson.

I’d always read shame described as the state accompanying the thoughts and feelings of “I am bad”. That description never quite resonated with me. My pain was more aligned with the thoughts and ideas that “I am good. Why doesn’t anyone else seem to see it?” People did see it and they actually told me all the time, but even when they did it still would hurt because no one seemed to see the pain I had.

When I read it now it doesn’t seem all that impactful. But this is what Curt Thompson wrote in his book, “We don’t necessarily have to have words to know we are happy, sad or tormented. Words are extraordinarily helpful, but they are not the source of our torment. And so our narratives begin with sensations, images and feelings; merge into a word or a thought…This is critical in understanding how

shame begins to weave its way into our lives. It does not wait for us to acquire language to insert itself. It primarily amounts to a shift in sensory-affective tone, an emotional shearing.” There was an image, an repeated memory that came to mind as soon as I read the words “emotional shearing”. I knew what that was. I knew what that felt like. And then I realized that shame was something God didn’t want for me.

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