Numbing Out on Good Friday

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I have a secret I have kept since I was a child. I have kept it because I was ashamed.

And the secret is this: that I numb out every Good Friday. Emotionally, I turn to stone. Over the years I have tried all kinds of things to get myself to feel something, but there’s something about the drama of Christ’s Passion… It doesn’t make me feel grateful. It makes me feel like I HAVE to be grateful. And when I feel that I ought to be grateful for something, I go numb. I become an automaton.

It doesn’t make me feel grateful. It makes me feel like I HAVE to be grateful. And when I feel that I ought to be grateful for something, I go numb. I become an automaton.

I know all the right words to say and all the right things to do. And for decades of my life I was so skilled at doing all the right things that it never occurred to me that a part of my heart is dead, inaccessible. But then I began my healing journey as my relationship with God deepened, and then I realised that my numbness was because I was caught in between being who I feel I ought to be and who I am. I realised that this doesn’t just happen on Good Friday but in other areas in my life too.

To see what is actually in my heart is too threatening for me. To risk finding that I may feel what are “wrong” emotions would frighten me that perhaps I don’t love Christ at all, or that I am a terrible and ungrateful person. I remember as a teen and even as a young adult, asking myself fiercely why I didn’t feel more emotion during the Stations of the Cross or Good Friday service. “What’s wrong with you?!” I’d internally shout at my poor self. Not once did this work to draw me closer to Christ.

To see what is actually in my heart is too threatening for me. To risk finding that I may feel what are “wrong” emotions would frighten me that perhaps I don’t love Christ at all, or that I am a terrible and ungrateful person

I don’t know where this numbness came from or when it began. I have some sense that it is connected with the emotional wounds that God has been touching and healing gradually over the past 10 years. And when wounds are resurfaced, they are tender and sensitive. And suddenly numbness can be replaced by revulsion and even physical sickness. That’s how I sometimes feel on Good Friday now. Sick.

I have been learning that the body never lies. And that the body stores trauma that conscious memory can forget. God gave me this body just as he gave me my heart, my mind, and soul. They work together to reveal the true God to me and to reveal my True Self to me. So I do not judge my heart or my body. I gently ask my guilt-tripping mind to rest and remember it is love alone that can bring me to wholeness. In God’s time. Slow by slow, perhaps, but I believe He has won me the victory. I need only claim it!

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