I am blessed by my brokenness. Otherwise I would just be another plastic personality doling out the cliches and comforting phrases. I have seen too deeply for that. My first breaking was when I became agoraphobic at the age of thirteen. I didn’t know what agoraphobia was; I knew I was terrified of social occasions to the point of nausea and vomiting. I didn’t feel safe. Many, many years later, the late Betty Bethards told me that it was caused by my clairsentience—being open to everyone’s emotions. She taught me to surround myself with white light and that has worked wonders for me.
The social fears kept me alone and since I was drawn to the path, I had nothing but time to study spirituality. I took to it like a duck to water. I knew which books I wanted to read and always allowed myself the luxury of buying them. In those days there was a wonderful independent bookstore called The Oxford. It drew people from all over to sit and inhale the heady aroma of new books and have a bite in the little upstairs cafe called The Cup and Chaucer. But the Olympics came to Atlanta and the traffic put the Oxford out of business. Now there are fewer and fewer places left to browse.
When my daughter was diagnosed with cancer at age three, that threw me into total disinterest in socializing. I had one goal in mind—to do everything I could to cooperate with her healing. The regimen was strenuous. She received heavy doses of chemo that would stagger an adult. I spent many nights holding a pan while she retched into it, looking at me with pleading eyes. I really needed God big time. He was breaking me and I needed Him. What a paradox.
Her death underscored my vow to know God. I walked resolutely through each day of grieving hell. Most marriages break up after the death of a child; Bob and I were the exceptions. It is a good thing we don’t always know the future. If I had known that he would leave in the same manner that she did, I might have “cursed God and died.” But I didn’t. I kept my head down and my faith up.
Twenty plus years went by and Bob was diagnosed with his own fatal cancer. Like hers, there was no escape. My caregiving years with him were marked with anger, deep grief and giving birth to my writing voice. God had snuck in the backdoor and showed me how much writing meant to me. So I began a website to support him, as many people know. It is where I began to claim my brokenness as a path to healing.
Now each day I am blessed with the gift of writing Facebook notes and having people respond to them. This is not socializing but a new way of coming into conscious community with like-minded people. Introversion is seen to be just the same as extroversion, a way of being in the world. We are all wired in different ways, but the Self is the same in all. When I let myself be used as a scribe, what happens is an emptying out of ego and an ushering in of Presence. I don’t mind my brokenness when it yields up such a rich harvest.
You may read more of Vicki Woodyard’s journey in her book, LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT: That’s How The Light Gets In.