I Like My Feelings
The Perils and Rewards of Sharing Inner Journey (July 2020)
As an extreme introvert, I’ve always been quite aware of my internal turmoil. But inclined toward the visual and intuitive, verbalizing the smorgasbord of shapeshifting emotions hasn’t come easy, nor have I felt much compulsion to decipher and clarify them.
I’ve preferred leaving my feelings in a state of mystique and intrigue, soaking in the rawness of them. It’s like driving in inclement weather on a mountain road, savoring the soothing sound of rain on sheet metal and the comfort of a snug fog-scape. Just as the unpredictable road condition demands my utmost focus on the pavement directly in front of me, I found it natural to be fully present at the moment with my unresolved emotions.
Even in the deepest and darkest seasons of my life, embracing the pain in the pit of my soul has felt more whole than trying to dissect and diagnose it. Perhaps my melancholic nature that relishes the dark and gloomy as real and honest, and the bubbly joy and happy somehow suspect, found the undefinable and indeterminate more comforting.
Trying to put words to my feelings has felt superficial, or at least, incomplete. And sometimes when forced, offensive. Releasing words prematurely in response to others’ need for clarity often gave rise to false perceptions, misunderstanding, and unmet expectations. My attempts at connecting with others on their terms seemed as impossible as trying to explain in one sentence a painting that expressed the complexities of my soul, the sanctity of my feelings spoiled with so many imprecise words. I have come to accept that most well-meaning people just don’t have the bandwidth to entertain my nebulous inner processes, nor should they be obligated to. Though making emotional room to understand and empathize with others is a noble pursuit, I’ve found that expecting so in casual human intercourse is destined for disappointment.
But, departing that safe interior and venturing out into the perilous world of words is a risk that I’ve come to embrace, out of necessity for human relationships, especially within the sacred bond of marriage. My life as a husband has been a process of learning how to take a snapshot of the present and put words to my fleeting feelings, whilst staying engaged in that ethereal space where God doesn’t demand precision. Although my best attempts at honest disclosure haven’t always been rewarded or appreciated, especially by those who’ve not had the years of discipline to practice resting in unresolved and undefinable places, I’ve come to realize that this is a work I must do in any meaningful relationship, especially in this extroverted world that seems to equate silence with emptiness.
Whenever I’ve revealed my soul in honest rawness (as an invitation to my inner space) most have preferred to advise, counsel, or pray for a breakthrough, as though something was wrong with my internal state. But the few who have chosen to sit in this liminal space with me in holy quietness have made the risks worth taking. The occasional rewards of tender human connection in that space where God allows me to be fully me, where I am allowed to like my own confusing and sometimes gloomy feelings, make the potential perils of sharing my inner journey with a fellow sojourner definitely worth the effort.