Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bless you shit for coming into my life

In therapy, Paul read me this paragraph:
It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart—and through all human hearts.... That is why I turn back to the years of my imprisonment and say, sometimes to the astonishment of those about me: “Bless you, prison!” I...have served enough time there. I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!” (The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Vol. 2, 615-617)
As he read, I thought about all of the things I have learned over the past year. I felt grateful for the eating disorder and all that recovery is teaching me. I felt grateful for all of the wonderful people I met because of the eating disorder. I thought about Larry, and when Paul read the last line, in my mind, I actually said, "Bless you Larry for having been in my life."

I don't think he ever meant to hurt me. I believe he was doing the best he could. That doesn't mean that I think what he did was okay - it just means I have compassion for him. I also am grateful for all that I have learned, and I truly feel grateful for all of the experiences.

When he finished, Paul turned to me and said, "Maybe one day, you'll be able to say, 'Bless you..." And he stopped. Then he started again, "Bless you... shit... for coming into my life."

I am grateful for all of the shit. I am grateful for all that I've learned. And there is still no better way to say it. Tonight, in my prayers, I will thank God for the shit.


  1. This is amazing Jen.... I don't think that there is anyone who would have been able to walk next to you in your therapeutic journey than Paul. This shows unbelievable amounts of strength and growth.... remember the night of therapy with Stephanie... haha.. I believe a piece of paper, a word and a bunch of lines were involved.
    Look at how far you've come. Even if you struggle to see all the "shit" as a blessing all the time, to have this kind of moment would be so freeing.

  2. I'm currently reading the book "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" by C.S. Lewis. I don't know if you've read it, but this post reminded me of a scene in the book.

    There is a character, Eustace, who is selfish and cruel and all together unlikeable. He is Lucy and Edmund's cousin, and comes with them to Narnia. They land on an island where Eustace wanders off and finds a dragon's cave. He sees the dragon die and so wanders into the cave. He discovers all the treasure there and he is trying to figure out how to get it all back on the ship without letting anyone know so that he doesn't have to share it. He is filled with greed and falls asleep on top of the pile of treasure.

    When he awakes he discovers he has turned into a dragon. He realizes he doesn't care about treasure as much as he thought and he just wants to be with people and feel their love. Aslan comes and helps him with his problem. This is how Eustace describes it: (next comment)

  3. "The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. but the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I dont know if he said any words out loud or not.

    I was just going to say that I couldn't undress because I hadn't any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that's what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and , instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I jsut stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.

    But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that's all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I'll have to get out of it too. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.

    Well, exactly the same thing happened again. And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off? For I was longing to bathe my leg. So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.

    The the lion said - but I don't know if it spoke - 'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

    The very first tear he made was do deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know - if you've ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

    Well, he peele the beastly stuff right off - just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt - and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was Ias smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me - I didn't like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I'd no skin on - and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I'd turned into a boy again. You'd think me simply phoney if I told you how I felt about my own arms. I know they've no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with Caspian's, but I was so glad to see them.

    After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me - (with his paws?) - Well, I don't exactly remember that bit. But he did somehow or other: in new clothes - the same I've got on now, as a matter of fact. and then suddenly I was back here. Which is what makes me think it must have been a dream."

    I think sometimes God lets us experience horrible things, things that cut us to the very core. Those things help us peel away our hardened shells and help us find the inner being who can be a new child of Christ.

    Of course, God doesn't send you the trials directly, but he does allow them to happen and if we let him, he will help us make the pain become a joyful and delicious experience in the end.