It’s 11:30 PM as I sit at the kitchen table, typing this, wondering if I can maneuver my thoughts into a blog post and publish it before Day 16 has crossed the line into “tomorrow,” and still make sense, let alone convey the wisdom I’ve been gaining. The clock ticking behind me on the wall echoes in the country dark and stillness, sharpening my awareness of swiftly passing time.

I have been hopping between “worlds” lately, packing, unpacking, and repacking suitcases, spending hours of time on the highway, and today even a couple hours in the (still mushy) garden on the homestead, and sleep deprivation and a clumsy bandaged finger have been making this present task a little like trying to type in boxing gloves.

But I have, in all this seeming confusion, nonetheless connected with new wisdom. And so, if nothing else, I want to give you a review now of where we’ve been and a preview of where we’re going next.

After considering where we might find wisdom (of various kinds, on different levels), we began with the unlikely initial topic of “Despair.” Though we saw despair first labeled as “a crime,” in the next post we saw it as the potential beginning of a whole new, and more beautiful phase of life. This view of it came from Shannon Thomas in her book about overcoming emotional abuse.

From there we moved to hope that can be born out of despair as we look to God for what we can’t summon out of our limited, fallible selves and cluttered interiors.

We then moved on into Thomas’s second phase of growth/recovery/healing which she labels “Education,” as we also considered helpful auxillary topics of clearing clutter, getting needed exercise and sleep, and stilling the mouth, mind, and soul.

Now I find us returning to her steps/stages, because the next one is “Awakening,” and this is exactly what I just realized I wrote about for yesterday, relating Ruth Barton’s experience of awakening that came in her own time of silent retreat and stilling of inner noise and clutter.

So let me quote here from Shannon Thomas, explaining where we are and where we appear to be going in this unplanned blog series, and we’ll pick up more on personal awakening in the next post or two (or three?)…

“When [people] have identified their despair…(Stage One), and then Educated themselves on the specific[s] [related to their area of despair], an Awakening happens… (Stage Three). This is the point in recovery when the aha moments happen. Survivors can describe what they experienced [perhaps clearly for the first time], have learned new terminology, and in doing so, no longer feel isolated in their [difficut situation]. [They] may start to feel empowered… However, there are good days and bad days. It is common… to swing back to Despair and then forward to Awakening again. This is normal…

“This is also the stage where anger may really arrive onto the scene… a level of feistiness survivors have not previously experienced.. They say things like,

‘I can believe evil is real in the world. I have seen it.’

‘What I have lived through actually has a name, and other people know what I have experienced.’

‘Turns out, I am not bat-crazy after all.’…

“See the theme? It’s all good… At times, it’s an angry awakening… definitely bittersweet… 

She is dealing specifically with healing from psychological abuse–with, by the way, very insightful understanding, and helpful information. But these stages can apply to many other areas of life and trial and growth.  

Bottom line in any case: the whole point of this education isn’t to pass an exam or make a speech or sound brilliant, but to come to an understanding, of truth and self and what specifics are going on in one’s own life and soul. From there real progress can begin to happen.