I have been in a highly reflective mood lately.
My assumption is that this is due primarily to the fact that I am writing again. Although I have not been posting regularly to my blog, I am taking a creative writing class, as well as leading a writer's small group. These two groups require me to dig into my life for material, and as a result I have been regularly experiencing flashbacks.
Compounding these flashbacks, is my physical body. Normally, paying attention to my body is a negative force. Today, however, it led to thankfulness. I realized today that my weight is equal to what it was prior to running track my senior year of high school. Now, by no means, am I implying that running track led to my anorexia. But I do believe that losing weight in track (combined with dating my first boyfriend) brought an awareness of my physical body that had been shut down. This realization of my stabilized weight has brought a wave of thankfulness upon me. For the first time in five years, I am neither losing nor gaining ridiculous amounts of weight. Sure, my anorexic-trained mind will probably always want to be skinnier than I am now, but I am finally treating my body well--refusing to push it in either direction. I am not restricting; I am not binging; I am not compulsively exercising. I feel at peace.
It is this peace that allows me to tip-toe through the memories brought up by my flashbacks.
The act of remembering occurs often in the Bible. The Passover, which is arguably the most important holy observance for both Jews and Christians, is rooted in the act of remembering. The book of Deuteronomy is Moses's repetition of the Israelite history and the laws that have been given to them. Many songs of the Bible (especially the Psalms--see Psalm 105) are purposefully reminding the singers and listeners of past works and deliverances of God. Even the New Testament exercises remembering (think of Stephen's speech before he was martyred).
Not only does remembering bring Thanksgiving and Praise to God, but it also renews Faith and Trust in the God who has proven Himself trustworthy.
My flashbacks are doing this for me.
I am surprised to be where I am today. I shouldn't be alive. I shouldn't be alive physically. I shouldn't be alive emotionally. I shouldn't be alive physically. (Heck, I even almost killed my intellectual self, as well.)
I have mentioned the following quote by Bonhoeffer before, but it seems especially pertinent today: "He is a prisoner and he has to follow. His path is prescribed. It is the path of the man whom God will not let go, who will never be rid of God." Bonhoeffer described the prophet Jeremiah, thus. But it became a description of himself, as well. And now, it has become a description I (cautiously) apply to myself.
I tried to rid myself of God. I think back to everything I went through and put myself through. I tried to push God out. There is no reasonable explanation as to why I am still walking with Him. The only explanation I have is that it was God who refused to let go of me. He refused to let anything stand between me and Himself. "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-9 ESV). God has kept His grip on me. And He did this by placing perfectly, hand-picked people into my life at the times that I needed them the most.
So, today, I want to recognize a few individuals. There are many who have walked along side of me during this journey, but the individuals I am about to list rose to challenges far beyond what is required of a normal relationship. So if you see your name (I will only give first names, since I don't have anyone's permission to give more), I just want to say, "Thank you for being available. God used you. Thank you for loving me. You were God's arms embracing me. Thank you for sacrificing your time and energy. Without you, I would not be alive today."
My thanks go out to:
Janet, Sue, Mike, Ashley, Courtney, Bruce, Amy, Ericka, Anna, Barry, Lindsay, Natalie, Kaitlin, Kristin, Kristina, Sue, Joseph.
Thank YOU. And thanks be to God for placing you in my life and for never letting me go.