Woke up pretty good this morning. I am past the 48 hour mark so today I could attend “Fit to Recover” which is a non-profit gym that works closely with the Strong Hope Team to engage us in physical excel use and team building.
Our morning check-in went smooth as well as breakfast. Our first course for the day was a skills class with Rhett, one of the intern psychologists. the topic was rather peculiar, in which Rhett asked us to give the reason on why we think that we were all here.
As we went around the room it started to get heavy emotionally. The responses were to familiar and resonated like a thick smoke in my head; betrayal, broken trust, anger, rage, sadness and guilt. When we wrapped up the session there were tears on the floor, old memories floated around, and in that moment when we were about to leave we all pulled each other up, and like a mission FRAGO we pushed through it.
Fit To Recover was a kick in the nuts, consisting of a lower body workout with a cardio kick. I felt good as I left Ian and the gym with our group to head back to the hospital. I finally found out after pushing my confidence level, that my leg Actually handled the beating and I could actually push myself further then before. By that one workout I felt a spark in me that had been missing for so long that I missed and was invigorated by it. I was still the same, confident in my ability to physically sustain my own safety, I felt an old flame creep in, that feeling of once again being dangerous.
I began to become a bit nervous as evening check-in approached, and when it finally began I felt even more uneasy because I would be holding my first bible study ever that I was leading, not to mention at a place and point in time where most of these guys were questioning Gods purpose and existence in our human world. As we did our round table check-in, some feelings of Suicide, depression, anxiety and sadness were expressed. When it came to my turn in sharing, I put out were I was mentally, and put out the time I was going to hold bible study.
As the time approached I picked a couple sound verses to go over from the book of Matthew on the topic of Forgiveness. We stepped into the group room, bibles in hand, as it was time to start. I looked at all 5 of my brothers that attended as we began, I started with a prayer and into our first verse. They could tell it was my first time. But the message was pure and clear and touched everyone, “Leave your burdens to me, and take up my yoke,” I expressed as I read the verse. Their reply and feedback touched me.
When it says, “ Place your burdens upon me,” it is like we talked about in group session earlier, when we vent out our pain and burdens we carry it is all contained on our back, as if we carry it in our own rucksacks. When we spill it it is like taking that ruck off, placing it on the floor and opening it up. All of us in the room pick up a little peace of the burden to lighten that emotional pack for our brothers to carry. I remember wrapping up with a parable about forgiveness.
True forgiveness rests in first forgiving yourself for the things that hold you down in which brings you guilt, Shane, rage, guilt and anger.
I felt that Jesus was there in the room with us as I watched some tears well up in their eyes. They listened to my transition and take as to what true forgiveness was in which they were seemingly struck with a hope and love they were missing. “ Brothers, to me forgiveness is an instant release of sadness, pain, guilt and prosecution. True forgiveness rests in the first forgiving yourself for the things that hold you down in which brings you guilt. Shame, rage, guilt and anger are strapped into that pack we all have set on the ground that was once carried on our back. In order to be free of this burden you got to release those emotions through unconditional self forgiveness. When you have forgiven yourself then you can truly forgive others. Those that need your forgiveness are the ones that have personally hurt you, and those situations or tragedies you had no control over.
We ended with prayer and as they left after a brief hug I felt a sense of accomplishment and self worth. Senses of satisfaction, and true leadership embraced my mind which touched my soul and truly I felt as I was of service to our God like I was meant to be. I felt this is what I belonged doing in life. It felt natural. It felt real and I felt alive doing it.
I feel that in the last few days I have realized something very important, I am not to far gone inside at all. The man I use to be is still there deep down. He never forgot whom he truly was. Most importantly this felt like my awakening and the best part of me was yet to come. Though I still got to walk through hell and visit a few places along the way, I will leave this place of true healing, strong Hope, transformed for good.
Though I still have to walk through hell and stop a few places along the way, I will leave this place of true healing, Strong Hope, transformed for good.