I hate feeling.
Not “feelingS.” Just feeling.
I hate anger. I hate it when I get so mad at someone that I want to scream at them. I hate the way my blood pressure rises and my heart races. I hate when I lose control and say words that I normally don’t say. Or say words that I wish I could take back.
I hate worry. I hate it when my stomach gets all twisted in knots. I hate the feeling of inferiority or doom or “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” I hate looking over my shoulder wondering who is watching me about to fail.
I hate conflict. I hate it when people can’t get along; even when the disagreement is agreeable! I can watch two people calmly discuss two sides of an issue and the whole time I am frightened the world is going to come to an end. Social media has not helped this improve.
I hate grief. I hate the pain of losing someone I hold dear. I hate when I see the pain in the faces of those who have lost loved ones, whether or not I know the person who has passed away. I hate watching people drive away in moving trucks. I hate watching people break down when they are opening up and sharing their story.
I hate feeling.
And I am an emotional person.
That sucks as a combination.
So what is a person who feels a lot but hates feeling to do? Well, for many years my answer was to drink. For some people, alcohol intensifies certain emotions. For me, it dulled them. It made me numb. There was all this noise going on in my head and the closer I got to the bottom of the bottle, the more the noise shut up.
One of my biggest struggles in sobriety has been learning how to feel again. One thing has not changed: I still hate feeling.
But one thing has changed: as much as I hate feeling, I allow myself to feel now. I get angry. I get nervous. I deal with conflict (okay, that one I need to work on). And I feel grief. I may hate it, but I feel it.
It has become a joke in my family how emotional I am. In fact, my wife and children have played a game, “How long into the (movie, worship, awards ceremony, grocery shopping trip) before Dad starts crying?” I don’t think any of them have ever guessed more than 15 minutes.
I have not learned to stop hating my emotions; I have learned to embrace them.
Because every time I feel, I know I am sober. Every time I feel, I know I am not running away and hiding. Every time I feel, I know I am being me.
I might hate it. But I will just learn to embrace it.
Tonight, I will attend another funeral. My friend, Beth, died last week. The church I attend, Freedom Fellowship, is mourning. Beth was a kind servant and an all-out worshipper. Without ever brining attention to herself, she acted in such a way that set an example for many. Tonight, we will remember. We will pray. We will share.
And we will cry.
I hate grief.
But I love that I will be grieving in a community of hope.