That Bench Again

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Yesterday I was heading home from a memorial at the west end of town, and in a way it was quite surreal. The place I needed to go basically took me down the same route where I went to work last year, and I haven’t been there in months. Things ended quite sour, so you can imagine why it was mildly triggering. I kept wondering whether I would see people I knew, and what they would think of me being there, if they would acknowledge me at all. It’s that feeling of being on edge, feeling like you’re going to watched at any minute. To transfer buses, I had to be dropped off at the exact stop I had been dropped off at so many times before, usually stressed out about what the day would bring, and what conflicts would arise. Do you have a place like that – that’s just so emotionally charged with memories? Where, if you were to go back now, you would be sucked into a vortex from the past? That’s kind of how it felt like.

Anyway, on the way back home, I had to catch the bus going the opposite direction at a different bus stop, and then I was hit with yet another memory – the very last time I had been there. That time, a few months ago a little after Christmas, I had gone to work determined to do better – I just knew that if I just tried hard enough, I could do a better job. Of course, I didn’t realize that the type of work made it pretty much impossible with my ADD. This is actually a similar issue I’ve had with many other jobs in the past. Anything that is rote, routine, and pretty much doing the exact same thing day in and day out. I usually fail, and become bitter and passive aggressive, and honestly, it’s a wonder I haven’t been fired in the past. Usually I just quit. But this time I was determined not to quit, and try to do the best I can, and work as though for the Lord, etc. But man, it just wasn’t happening. Everything was going wrong, but everyone else was doing just fine, and they were doing the work I longed to be doing instead of these mindless rote tasks – and I tried so hard to manage the wave I was drowning in – crying in the bathroom without anyone noticing. But eventually, I just snapped, and left after less than an hour of being there. I missed the bus to go home by a couple of minutes, and it was almost 25 minutes until the next one.

So I had to sit on that bench. And wait.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I got home. I was embarrassed, frustrated, angry, and ashamed – and I felt all alone, like a garbage human with no business being on this earth. I decided to try calling the Canada Suicide Prevention Service (1-833-456-4566, 10/10 recommend), but it took a few tries as I was fumbling so bad I couldn’t even work my phone properly. I probably almost gave up, but I was finally able to get through, and I sat on that bench, pouring my heart out over the phone as strangers walked by. Probably thinking I was crazy. And I definitely felt crazy.

Maybe it’s a bit of an understatement, but the holidays can just be so hard.

Anyway, obviously, I lost my job, but I survived, and I have been doing so much work since then to let go. Let go of the resentments, let go of the blame I cast on myself and others. I want to do better for myself, my son, any future children. I want them to know that things can get better. In that moment, I definitely didn’t believe it. And I’m sure there’s a time later in the future when I will forget again. But going back to that place, even if it was painful at first, really helped me see that we just don’t know how things will be in the future.

Yesterday, I was jamming to my worship beats, drumming on my boots and bobbing my head as strangers past by. Some probably thought I was crazy. But some actually smiled at me and waved. Even though I had sadness from remember someone I knew who had past away, I was able to reflect on God’s goodness, as well. Just being on that bench again helped me to remember that time doesn’t stop, and life goes on, and what was once a place of sadness and grief could later be a place of joy and praise.

Apparently meditating on a bench waiting for a bus is quite popular – take Forest Gump, for example. Where do you most like to sit and think? Discuss below!

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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13

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