The cognitive distortions I face in the world seem to ebb and flow. Or perhaps more accurately, my ability to hold and face these cognitive distortions ebbs and flows with my willingness to stay in my body. There are times when these flow into awareness, and I am able to note them, and allow them space. There are seasons that it feels more like a neap tide that has wreaked havoc on the beach, and left a pile of rubble in its path.
In my current neap tide season, I find myself feeling raw, feeling deeply, and struggling for a breath of rest. As each wave crashes, a little of me feels eroded, and I find myself fighting the temptation to dissociate. So it should not surprise me that yesterday, when the angry voice yelled out to me from the truck speeding by, felt violent and cutting.
My daughter and I go for a walk almost every day. Yesterday as we were walking, two men in a truck cat-called as they drove past. In the moment I did not give this a second thought. It was not the first time this has happened. However, I did notice the numerous bumper stickers with bible verses, and tributes to Jesus. Still, not that odd. It was not until they circled the block. and then sped past us honking their horn, and yelling “fucking dyke bitch!.” My heart started to pound, and I felt disorientated. I was surprised, and angry. I was not sure if they made the assumption that because I did not reciprocate, that I must be a lesbian, or that as they drove by, they noticed that I was wearing a pride shirt.
When life is ebbing, a situation like this would not feel like much. I have come to love who I am, and I feel secure in God’s love for me. However, yesterday this felt more like a 50 foot tidal exchange. Perhaps I am feeling weary from being in a season of struggle. Or perhaps it is the anger and confusion I experience when this type of behavior comes from people who claim to know the love of Jesus. I see it in the news every day, I read it on my Facebook feed, and I hear it in conversations. It is disheartening.
Unfortunately I do not have many answers on how, and why these things happen. Only that evil will kill, steal, and destroy not only glimpses of God’s goodness in this world, but also desire. Neap tides bring about a strong sense of desire. It makes sense that there would be opposition in this regard. Neap tides also bring about new life. Eventually the tide recedes, and the work of restoration begins. My tide may not have receded yet, however, here is how I chose to respond:
God how lovely are your glimpses that call us to desire.
In this world you have called us to love boldly.
In the face of evil, God your light shows through.
Though I feel disorientated, you ground me.
When others choose violence, you meet me with love.
As you call us to love and pray for our enemies,
I ask you to open these men’s eyes.
May the beauty of your creation call them to worship.
Open their eyes to the humanity of all.
May the imago Dei be indistinguishable in their sight.