Since the death of my husband, Lawrence, a few weeks ago, my heart has felt a pain I didn’t think possible.
There have been many times that it hurts so bad, I, of course, try to numb it. But I remember other times that I have numbed pain, which led to decisions that didn’t turn out well…
A few years ago, my two daughters, three grandsons, and I, ventured off to Africa to volunteer at an orphanage located in Livingstone, Zambia. Along with volunteering, I was asked to speak at a school.
When I finished my presentation, our hosts, Dwayne, Julie, and their children and my daughters, Jodie, Lindsey, my grandsons, and I, went to a place I had previously expressed an interest in going to—the Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world, and one of the most beautiful spots in the world to bungee jump from.
I thought I would be able to change my clothes, but there we were at the bridge with me in my “speaking” clothes, trying to determine whether I wanted to jump. Standing for what seemed an eternity, I peered into the gorge at the churning river. I asked my family for their opinion. Should I jump? Jodie didn’t have a problem with it. The boys thought it was very cool. Lindsey was not in favor and later confessed, “Mom, I was so afraid of losing you!” But I sensed something pushing me to do it.
As they were putting the gear on me, Lindsey was in tears. Alex looked like he was afraid. They were both praying. The workers asked me if I was scared. I replied, “A little, but nothing major.” As they placed what appeared to be a life jacket over my head, they asked if I could swim. I replied, yes, I could indeed swim. I put my arms out as they instructed me in the “I’m about to jump off this bridge pose.” There was no fear, no trembling, nothing.
I jumped. My eyes were open the whole time. I didn’t scream, nothing. After the first jerk of the rope, I looked around in total awe. I felt fantastic! What a rush!
Two weeks later at home, I did a lot of processing. I said to Lawrence, “There’s something about that jump. Just after I decided to do it, I got this feeling. It did not go away as they put the gear on me. It was not a foreign feeling, I’ve felt it before.”
Never had I done anything like this before, yet I recognized the feeling. I had disassociated myself from my emotions. I had become a robot. I had numbed myself. I felt nothing. It was the exact same feeling before the abortion I had thirty years before.
God multitasked in so many ways on the trip, but He wanted me to come face to face once again with the experience. He spoke to my heart. “Melony, I’m so glad you recognized the emotion. From now on, when you are in a place of feeling nothing, I want you to know it is not from Me. I wanted to take you through the sensation, so you sense even stronger the intense joy I have for you on the other side of it.”
I recognized if you can’t feel intense pain then you won’t feel intense joy either. I have never felt more alive than I did at that moment. And I could tell it wasn’t the adrenaline rush—it was God.
After the jump, as I had walked back still clad in the bungee gear, someone said, “What’s that tab on your life jacket?”
Before I could respond that I didn’t know, someone else said, “That’s the tab you pull to inflate it if you need it.”
No one instructed me how to inflate the life jacket before I jumped.
Painful, traumatic things happen in life. Many do not recognize they have God's life jacket on, and they end up in a place of "nothingness," unaware that there is a tab on their life jacket to pull.
Does my heart hurt right now? Of course, it does. I married Lawrence. When we marry, God says that we become one. Half of me is now missing.
Am I still trying to numb the pain? Yes. But I'm choosing more and more to embrace It. When the pain becomes too intense and I feel like I'm drowning, I will pull the tab, and God will be with me through it…