This season has been one of an unusual kind of growth for me. I’ve been trying to find language for what this is that I’ve been experiencing. I figure if I can find ways to describe it, it’s less discomforting.
A while ago, I had the opportunity to hear Paul Young (author of “The Shack”) speak. Whatever one might think of the book, and subsequent movie, he mentioned something during his talk that resonated with me. He talked about The Spiral.
We all have our things – the hang-ups, challenges, past traumas, stumbling blocks, and frustrations. Our “things” are what we seemed to have accumulated along our journey. Maybe we didn’t pick them up, but somehow they managed to attach themselves to us. They seem to be the things we are tasked with working through in order to experience Life with a capital “L.”
My experience in dealing with my things has felt like a boomerang. I deal with them, feeling like I’ve found closure, completeness, reconciliation, etc., only to have them come back at some point (sometimes years later). A kinder interpretation, but still unfulfilling was that I was on an infinite cycle of just dealing with the same things over and over and over again. It wasn’t until I heard about the spiral that my thinking shifted.
Instead of thinking of my things as snapping back, as a boomerang, or even that I was on a never-ending loop of dealing with my things, the spiral was different. Yes, dealing with my things as felt cyclical. I go around and I see the same things. In this way the circular shape of a spiral mimics the feeling of a circle (a never ending loop). But each time I go around, my things look a little different. They aren’t the same. I’m not the same. In this way the spiral is different. Every time I go around, all of it – where I am with my things, how I see them, what they mean – is different.
Sometimes my things hit harder, sometimes not at all. Either way, I now understand that my things aren’t static. They can move, release, float away (or even fight back). The changeability of my relationship with them is a beautiful thing.
I will never diminish the horrible feeling of by being hit by a returning boomerang I wasn’t expecting, or that depressing feeling of being on a never-ending circle. Those are their own kinds of things. I only offer the imagery of the spiral as it has helped me accept the recurrence of my things while understanding that the journey offers the possible of newness.