Life inside your head is scary. It’s full of worst-case scenarios and ridiculous reasons to be sad, scared, and overwhelmed. Life in your head is a constant cycle of you. As Brett Trapp says in his autobiographical podcast Blue Babies Pink, life inside your head eventually leads to narcissism. It’s all you, all the time.
This past month has been insane. Actually. I’ve been living in my head.
Hurricane Harvey hit and it changed everything. People I know had their homes filled with multiple feet of water. Even as I type that it fills my heart with sorrow. I’m not sure how they’re able to walk in joy and confidence after losing so many earthly belongings. If I had been in their shoes, I would have fallen apart.
I fell apart, and I lost nothing but my hope.
Yep, you read that correctly. For a fleeting moment, as the flood waters receded, I felt hope leave my body. The passion of the last year and a half that accompanied my time in Texas – living life on the air with thousands of listeners – disappeared from me.
As I watched news footage of the roads I drive every week covered in water, saw people rescued in boats from their submerged homes, and heard personal reports from co-workers of the losses they had incurred, I felt my heart flood with sadness…and I felt hope leave.
Inhale sorrow. Exhale hope.
I breathed like this for days.
I spent four days alone in my apartment, unable to drive to work.
The worst part wasn’t the loneliness of those days. It was facing the pain that hit me head-on as I emerged after the rain.
There was guilt. Oh, so much guilt.
After a week of being stuck inside, I dressed up and took a photo of my outfit. I posted it online. It made me feel normal, when everything around me screamed that nothing was normal and that it wouldn’t be for a while.
One response to this outfit photo took my breath away and knocked me into a spiral of guilt and shame. Questions overwhelmed me: Why had I taken a photo of my outfit? After a week like this? That was stupid. That was insensitive. I am as selfish as everyone thinks I am. Now I’m just fulfilling the radio personality stereotype.
My thoughts were this dark for days.
How do I help? How can I help?
Nothing I could do felt like enough. I honestly felt like Charlie in the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower. Pain. There was so much pain. And I couldn’t do anything to stop it; I was utterly powerless.
It took a little while for me to realize my faith in God was based on my feelings. Because I was mad at God. I was confused. I was half an inch from throwing in the towel on it all, because it was just too weird. Believe in God who loves us but still lets this happen to Houston? That makes no sense. God makes no sense.
The idea of a “good God in a fallen world” seems easy until you’re standing in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Over the past couple weeks, I had my faith crumpled only to be rebuilt once again. My feelings are too fickle to build upon. What makes me think I could entrust my relationship with the God who has held me since age thirteen to the ebbing tide of my mood?
Good thing Houston has more faith than I do. Seeing this city come together has inspired the entire nation. I’ve seen it first hand. It’s breathtaking. The church has led the charge, and if the church’s involvement over the last couple weeks doesn’t show the power of faith, I’m not sure what does.
I’ve learned to never stop asking what you can do to help, even if there’s nothing you can do to help. People remember a heart that cares.
Words are my thing. I’m a radio personality. In moments like these there really aren’t words. So this is me trying.