I had a chance to watch the movie Fences with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis and… wow I cannot stop thinking about it! There were so many elements of realism, transparency of emotions, spirituality and projected fears that I found it very intriguing to watch each character reveal who and where they were in their life, while at the same time seeing the ramifications of how life had a way of confronting those issues to them as well as exposing it to others when those same elements were kept inside. Surprisingly enough, although there was some heart dropping moments in the movie, I was able to see just how powerful letting your emotions out can bring healing in the most unconventional way.
As we are now in 2017, I think sometimes a “New Year, New Me” can disillusion people to believe that a new year will solve all of the heartache they endured in 2016.
” I took all my feelings, my wants and needs, my dreams . . . and I buried them inside you. I planted a seed and watched and prayed over it. I planted myself inside of you and waited to bloom. And it didn’t take me no eighteen years for me to find out the soil was hard and rocky, and it was never gonna bloom. But I held onto you…”
This line by the character Rose, played by Viola Davis, was very familiar to me. I too had put in a lot of work, emotions and effort into 2016 while waiting for the manifestation of the fruits of my labor to show at least some signs of progress by now, but the symptoms of my pain still remained. Because of this, it was hard to say “New Year, New Me” when I was still holding unto the way I thought my life would be like by now, waiting for the people who I claimed to be important in my life to understand how they hurt me or how it impacted me, waiting for someone to acknowledge my pain, waiting for certain expectations to be met; waiting for the effort I put in into certain investments to reciprocate back to me in the same manner; waiting like Socrates said to see who cared enough to break my fence down in order for me to be freed from each disappointment.
Why Yes, it was true. I had new 2017 goals I envisioned for myself to no longer say ” I wish I did this” and start saying “I have already done that” by becoming the person I know I wanted be. However, our normative default when we are hurt is to fast forward the grief and healing process, by telling ourselves that eventually the hurt will subside if we displace our emotions into our work, other people, new goals or passions all while still holding unto past heartaches.(It’s always interesting to me how the mind still works when your heart still hurts). My heart? Was beginning to push away the very people God told me to be there for or pray for when at times they were the same ones that hurt me the most. So now, not only was I waiting for justice to be met or my happiness, but I was also waiting for answers from God.
“But no fence can keep people in if they don’t want to be kept. No fence can keep out the pains and trials of the world. And no fence can keep death away forever. Sometimes fences do more than mark our spaces. Sometimes they do more than keep in the things we love and keep out the things we don’t. Sometimes they separate us, too. Sometimes the very people we most want inside are the same people we lock outside the gate.”
When I heard this line, a soft whisper in my spirit said to: let go what you cannot control and out of nowhere I started to smile. Not wanting to lose this momentum, I began to deconstruct my own fence to expose what emotions I had fenced in of the ideals or people I needed to separate myself from in order to begin the first step in the preparation of my own healing. (If you cannot be honest with yourself looking in your own mirror, then you are looking in the mirror of your own denial.) Re-evaluating relationships can sometimes be one of the toughest mental processes you have to make when you are still hurt from different dynamics of broken promises, grief, a stagnant career, etc. To ask yourself, is what I’m holding unto healthy, are you growing, does the relationship(s) have a glass ceiling, or do you need to have those tough conversations with those who hurt you? These are questions that can help you separate the problem from the person, by doing this it allows you to have a fresh perspective to look outside in at the situation instead of impulsively making decisions based on emotion.
Stop waiting was my third step to healing. Sometimes we have to see things for what they are and not hope for things to be what they are not. By waiting on the potential of others to do right by us, waiting for certain jobs to materialize, waiting on an apology from a friend or family member that may never come, all of these mentioned can produce stress and worry that God has already gave us victory in. Do not let your fence keep in the pain that prevents the ingredients for your potential growth or your ability to bless others in 2017. You are the expert of your own life, so it is up to you to either choose to sacrifice your time by waiting and sulking in your own pain or choose to let go and surrender to the unknown of what God has in store for you.
Trusting the unknown may seem unconventional because at times it produces fear, but Isaiah 43:16-17 suggest for us to remember the past (not of the bad things) of all the great things God has done for us already. Therefore, when we remember these things then we can, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past (of the bad things), and trust God when he says, “See, I am doing a new thing!” (v.18-19).
*all quotes are from the movie Fences