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Fear of Unspoken Love Messages.

20180416_181356Our fears tend to lose their power when we bring them into the light. Sometimes, being in denial of a burden or loss makes it difficult to accept that someone we once casually reached out to, that was always available will not be anymore is enough to keep expanding the pit we feel in our stomachs.

It is uncontrollable.

Our mental health (how we feel and how others feel about us) is one of the greatest of God’s gifts, but we take it for granted. It hangs on a thread as fine as a spider’s web. And the smallest thing can make it snap, leaving the strongest of us helpless in an instant.

And in that instant; Hope is our protector and Love our relief.

Isn’t it amazing how hard we have to work at not letting our emotion trump the truth? Our thoughts left unchecked can spiral instantly and produce crippling anxiety. Especially when we receive a phone call and the blank voice on the other end of the line says those lines we never prepared for!

Who is prepared anyway?

The world we live in is full of love language that goes unspoken. Feelings are hidden behind cold tears to avoid rejection or seemingly weak appearance, it doesn’t mean that it is felt less deeply; or that separation leaves a cleaner wound behind. Its beauty and its pain are in its silence.

What does it take to express how we feel? To comfort a sick child? To ease the pathway for someone recently diagnosed? Or one in a difficult relationship? Or stepping into the shoes of an overwhelmed caretaker of a child with developmental disability? The hurting family? The passing on of a loved one?

Not saying it leaves them in isolation, while we battle with our regrets for a lifetime.

Some of us are not blessed with revelations or confession of expression. I still literally ball-out like a baby, whimpering in a corner, shivering like an Eskimo whenever I receive dreary-hardened news….’the loss of my 3 pregnancies left me holding on to the ultra-sound pictures for years, the receipt of the cancer diagnosis left me physically scarred for life, the dilemma of accepting my child’s delay was an eye opener and created a movement in my career and life, and then the loss of my beloved Daddy…seems like part of me was stolen, but then its rebirth ignited the fire in me to soar.

When love language cannot be spoken, only shown, then everything that makes the heart beat must be hushed. I didn’t want to be hushed. I didn’t want to be consoled. I didn’t want to be told…C’est la vie! I just wanted to yell out how much love was sifting through me at the moment of each tragedy I had encountered over the years.

‘Yinka, “Mr. G.” has gone to rest! Welcome-To-The-Club! ‘We have all lost our Dads too” and their stories began, heartbreaking, heart torturing!

There was an overwhelming feeling of warmth and emotional support as I sat facing my 4 decades-bosom-childhood-friends on the night of the WAKE inside my dad’s parlor and a complete solidarity of hope as they all held on to me the next day at Ikoyi cemetery during the burial. #ThankYouVirginiaRuthAndIfeyinwa.

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*Virginia flew in from Port Harcourt, Ruth and Ifeyinwa had scrambled their way through the crazy Monday/Tuesday traffic from VGC to Lagos Island.

So, am I really ready for that club? The-No-earthly-Daddy’s club? I remember how I had panicked and fought everyone on the day of his lying-in-state. I didn’t know what got over me, but I lost my focus and literally shouted at everyone at my Dad’s place to keep dusting or cleaning his parlor, because the undertakers were bringing him into his house for lying in…

Oh no, He was coming back to his living room for the last time, and I was losing my mind…because only his body was present. I cried like a deranged widow. My fear was evident but my spoken love was massive. Phew!

Mourning is a strange, personal, twisted road. Especially when you lose a parent. We all expect that this will be our story; we will outlive our parents. And yet they are our origin people. For the entire 46 years I have been on earth, my Dad had been too. He was a given, a constant. And now, He’s not. The reconciliation with this new reality has been harder than I’d though it would be.

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So, if you’re reading this and still struggling with a fear of unspoken feelings or still in doubt if it is okay to express it without a response. Yes! Because, our Fear is inevitable, but the proclaimed shame over it is optional. Fear is wired into our very brains, into the most primitive part of us.

And if overwhelmed with fear of expression, share it with someone you trust today and ask them to pray with you. Doing so will help them be braver about sharing their fears and feelings too. Courage is contagious.

My Healing Process:

I usually open up my office door and allow my clients (children on the spectrum) to walk up in, have a seat and rummage through my toy bags as I engage their Behavior Techs in conversation and finally shift my attention on them, always getting animated and saying…“Do you know how much I love you today? This big!! (with emphasis on BIG as my arms opens up to hug them) ‘irrespective of the behavior displayed.

And when they walk out happier or puzzled at my 1-minute sugar-high craziness, with tears in my eyes more for joy of submission and expression, I know my bottled up feelings are being expressed through the minds of these little kids gradually…

Sometimes what we need is not information or speech or a literature of the pain we already know; But consolation. Sometimes we just need to know we are not the only one going through stuff. We need not the “how-to” but the “me too” consolation.

Because we are battle-worn and tender and have already fought as hard as we possibly can for now. Let’s show our spoken-affection to someone in need of it today.

May God help us all.

PS: Big THANKS to everyone who supported me through it all. I truly appreciate it.

Yours in HOPE
Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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REBUILDING HOPE after a loss.

shine-2There comes a time in our life when we should start thinking about what we will leave behind after we die.

Well, not everyone enjoys talking about it anyway, but we should! Like, Y-e-s-t-e-r-d-a-y! Because we will all pass away someday.

What will be our legacy? How will our lifestyles be recorded into the annals of history?

Are we aware that this is a deep healing and gratifying moment that could also beAdvertisement  our only chance and opportunity to pay it forward or celebrate life by creating a setting for others to follow? 

So, do you remember how you felt when you lost someone close to you? You witnessed dreams and aspirations snatched away coldly leaving behind dark visions of despair and uncertainty about the future!shine-4

Did your life take an unexpected turn when people you love are diagnosed with a terminal illness? The big question we battle in our minds over time as we witness their pain and struggle with recovering and treatment is…’Will-They-Ever-Make-It?

Or will they disgrace death and defeat the grave? No matter what, our lives and their new journey would never be the same again.

Aha! Because an irreplaceable vacuum has been deposited in our hearts.

The fairytale life we had always dreamed of for them is no longer possible. Is it okay to question God at those very hurting period we witness with them? Or be like Job and continually keep seeking His face in the middle of it all? Is there still hope after all?  #EmpathyLeadsToHope

ekoI still clearly remember the night when my parents went out for an event….

It was Christmas of 1980, my dad wanted to impress his guests that night and had driven them all to watch Bobby Benson’s High-Life band play at the lavishly furnished ball room of Eko Hotel at Victoria Island Lagos.

Jubilant! Excited! my cousins and I (who had come visiting from Port Harcourt and UK) danced around our Christmas tree in the adult parlor as we waved goodbye to our parents, flashing our hand-held sparkler fire works! And as my dad’s car zoomed off the street, we were left with traces of rays from the street lights that eventually nudged us back inside.

But, my parents never came back that night or the next day!

Nothing prepared me for the tons of relatives who stomped into our house for the next couple of months!

There was constant whispering, cleaning or attending to unfamiliar faces who had pressed the loud doorbell that always made our dogs, Jolie and Julie mad and bark uncontrollably!

shine13The warm-natured relatives from my mother’s village in Delta State had hired a commercial station wagon named “Eni Afe” (the one we love) to transport them and their bags full of African pear and Garden egg directly from Oshimili Local government to my door step on Lagos-Island!

Oh by-the-way! Did I mention that they were always humming a moody native song and slapping their heads or their hips! Pointing to the sky as if blaming God for not being on time to the rescue! Or were they blaming the automobile company for the accident? I could barely pick their language, but was always able to identify the word “moto” as they begin to use their wrist to wipe away invisible tears.

And every time I would glare at them in fear and confusion wondering where they kept my parents!!

Ah, I-s-i-o-m-a ’Nne m (meaning My-good-head daughter or good-luck-girl-child) they would exclaim and carry me off into a non-auditioned Igbo dance and bury my head in their humongous Saturday Night-talcum-saturated bosom, like I needed to be smothered because I was missing motherly affection! Oh well, at that time, I guess I was anyway…Phew!    #ILoveMyMothersPeople

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And on the other side, my father’s Lagos-Brazilian quarters family members would all stroll in, in their meticulous apparel, puffing and huffing about how Uncle Kay (my dad) just won’t stop smoking, drinking and driving! their high stiletto competing with their pitchy British accent as they search in their patent fancy bags for a glass-beaded rosary that will be used to sanctify the house or search for their fancy hand fan even as the ceiling fan was in full motion!

I watched as they try to escape the cold nose caressing from our dogs! Their house helps or driver sneaks up behind them carrying home-baked bread and fruit baskets brought from Tom Jones area, covered with beautifully embroidered napkins.

Oh! There you are Yinkus baby! Everything is fine oh? We must book a mass for the family! Let’s thank Saint Christopher and Our Lady of good counsel! Or ‘has anyone gone to Catholic Mission to report this to the Arch Bishop? I will have my driver come get you for the weekend to play with your cousins at Ikoyi club” And then a big hug consumed with choking concentrated overdose of vintage Hermes perfume! 

Ah! play-with-my cousins-at-this-period? Hmm…’No-thank-you-Aunt! #MyFathersDramaticPeople

But, Why-won’t-someone-tell-me-what-ever-happened-to-my-parents

shine-11Thank goodness for older and notorious cousins who were very crafty in stealing top-classified family information! Last I know…they saw my Dad’s car somersault several times and crash into the edge of the reef at Bar beach!

All 4 of them (My dad, mom, late Uncle Siji and Dr. Alagoa) lost consciousness and were rescued by a nearby white garment church congregation having a vigil at the same time on the beach!

Okay…so they made it out of Eko Hotel and crashed into Bar beach on their way back home. Severely injured with the car written off! Both on admission and physical therapy for several months as I was left in denial about their disappearance until they returned home, not the same as they left in December, but alive.

At that moment and such tender age, nothing could have soothed or comforted me enough! For all I care, I could have been an orphan-in-waiting until they eventually came back home with bruises and scars so pronounced, even our dogs wept for them! Literally.

shine-12Today, as you are reading this…In homes and hospitals and confinement across the world, friends and family will soon gather around to usher in the New Year, beautifully decorated tables filled with warm, scrumptious food and gifts to give. Blinking lighted trees with trimmed gold ribbons!

It is Christmas!!

However, this day will be nothing like holidays of the past for many people.

Broken hearted families who’ve lost loved ones will struggle to keep hope alive, Friends with terminal or life threatening illness will have to struggle to catch a glimpse of what a painless season without medication or treatment would be, Lonely but committed soldiers covered in the dust of battle will patrol foreign borders, fighting for what they believe in, while their families back home long for word of their safety.

The homeless will make their way to the nearest soup kitchen, hoping for a warm meal and a smiling face as so many celebrate this day of abundance.

eko-2For some, an empty place at the table will be a painful reminder of the loved one lost or a failed relationship.

A worried husband and dad will sit at the head of the table, wondering how he is going to tell his family that he just lost his job.

A wife, struggling with emotional turmoil of an unfulfilled marriage, a beautiful young lady, wondering if the joy of the season is worth celebrating due to rejection and loneliness.

A family with a child on the spectrum still waiting for a miracle. The list of wounded hearts and unmet needs is brutal.

So, tell me, how do you create or find time to rebuild after you lose someone to death, ailment or disagreement? In all my 6 years of surviving that cancer, I have continuously struggled with the changes that’s taken over my body, my mind and my perception about life and people. I had to crave the urge to keep hoping for a fruitful life; medication, treatment and all by creating time for people in need!

For others, it is still denial of what they can’t understand and are still refusing to accept. That there could be hope because God says so, that we could still find joy and happiness even while going through that phase in life.

How do you intend to help someone going through all these the few days remaining in 2016? Would we rather patronize the needy by dropping by a shelter to suit your conscience? Send text messages or gifts when really your voice of encouragement is what they need? Label them as unfit or dying when really only God can dictate that journey! Hmm.

shine-5What gives us hope today? Even with friends and loved ones dying or shutting down around us, how do we comfort them?

You see, when we convince ourselves that life will be better when we have more money, when we find the right mate, when we get the kids raised or build the right house. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we buy a nicer car, when we get that promotion, when we are able to go on our dream vacation or when we retire.

We keep trying to find joy, contentment and peace in lifeless places and useless things.  When really, we just need to be more thankful for being alive and seek the real meaning behind the lights on the Christmas trees, it’s not about the ornaments or the beautiful wrapped up gifts! Or the beautiful glittering ribbons.

It is about building HOPE for tomorrow! and why we need to celebrate life more…especially with those going through tough time this season.

And because I witnessed my parents come out alive of that ghastly car accident at Bar-beach that had the next day newspaper headlines as “Miracle on the Beach” I certainly have no choice but to keep trusting and hoping in God even as my own strength and flesh falter sometimes!

shine-3Because I-have-been-there-with-you, on both sides…I know the feeling of a blurry future when sickness knocks or when a loved one is lost or when we lose a pregnancy/baby…the vacuum is so uncomfortably evident and can never be filled!

I am hoping someone reading this will allow their heart to beat again after a loss.

Let’s spread the love of Christmas by bringing HOPE to someone really in need of affection today and comfort the weak at heart more.

To all those we lost in 2016. Let’s be rest assured that the peace the birth of Christ brings this season is surely abiding with them.

Yours in HOPE! As I share David Gokey’s ‘Tell Your Heart To Beat Again’

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

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When Affection Fails… ‘Are we always in control of our RAGE?

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When Michelle is only 12 years old, she is raped by Reggie, the boyfriend of her mother. When her mother does not believe her accusations, Michelle runs away and begins a downward spiral that includes drugs and prostitution, eventually landing in prison. There she hears of Bishop T.D. Jakes, a preacher who works with women like her. Jakes takes an interest in Michelle’s case and visits her… (Culled from the movie “Woman Thou art loosed).

I remembered the first time I watched “Woman thou art loosed”, I must have glared so hard at the screen, terrified, awed and frozen! Forgotten about my bowl of pop-corn. I couldn’t wait to see how this hardened jail bird would be broken by TD Jakes… but He did! At a moment, I felt myself transformed and imagining the pain and agony she’d encountered for years! And only for the healing words to be delivered through controlled prison walls? Hmmm.

Recently, there’s been an uproar of amazement and bewilderment; many minds are wondering, hurt, confused and still appalled; speculating and disheartened over how far our emotions can take us into brutal rage. How far would we go in professing our love or hatred? How far would we declare our anger in times of pulsating fury? When you remember that love-patch that never worked out for you, do you give a deep sigh, bless God and keep living? Or do you wallow in self-pity over what could have been? Do you regret missing out of a broken relationship? Do you destroy affection by your words? Or do you protect your words with your frenzy?

When your love life fails (marriage or relationship) the once-upon-a-time blissful shower is now a puddle of regret, who do you turn to? Friends who are more interested in your good juicy superficial tales? Family members who could be self-centered? Or just ordinary people who sincerely wants to hold your hands, allow the tears and words to flow and willingly wipe your tears, without being judgmental? Where’s your support system? Who’s your support system? After you’ve prayed and fasted and done all you can…’when you are so enraged and hurt and cheated on by life, what do you do? When Love itself stops loving you, do you walk away and hope you get it right next time? Or you just fix it based on your current state of mind?

Last week socked me with a one-two knockout punch. The news of the death of another victim in a stormy marriage! Death has punched hard. Shockwaves of grief are running through the veins of all who know and love them. It seems so wrong. So upside-down. Excruciating. Inconceivable. Unfair. Crooked.

My soul is restless with questions.

If life in Christ is promised to be abundant and full (John 10:10), then why are there times when it seems so empty and broken? Why does pain sting so violently? Why do good people die young? Why do we sometimes allow the devil’s workshop to occupy a space in our idle minds? Why do honorable Christ-followers face such compelling hardships?

So, for all of us still living and silently enduring a painful relationship, let’s cultivate a habit of SPEAKING OUT when we are hurting! even when the one-two punches come, we can trust God – not because we understand all the circumstances, or even like them – but because we know HIM. And because we know HIM, we can trust that He will provide all that we need to process pains, heal from wounds, and move forward in strength, grace, and peace.

When we are intimately familiar with God – when we don’t just know about Him, but when we KNOW Him – the most crooked roads we travel are made straight. Not because life is easy. Hardship stings and life is complicated. Not because all that we experience is just. Much of life is unfair. But because when we know God, we know:

His strength that is accessible in our weakness

His comfort that meets us as we mourn

His mercy that withholds the punishment our depravity readily deserves

His peace that defies our unrest

His joy that kisses the cheeks of our sorrow

His courage that emboldens our weary hearts and casts away fears

His redemption that reworks our brokenness into beauty

His love that binds us to eternity and delights over us with singing

 

Yours in HOPE!

Yinka Lawrence

Reference:

www.girlfriendsingod.com

 

 

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