“Behold, I am making all things new” Revelation 21:5
Writers start writing pieces all the time that sits on their computer, and it will likely never see the light of day. But, I don’t want to forget these days, and I certainly never want to forget the day I climbed in my guest closet and starting speaking my story into a microphone. That was the day my life changed forever.
The day was gorgeous and less any electronic devices, none would have known that the entire world had just been turned on its ear. We were all “safer at home” or “sheltered in place” as COVID-19 introduced itself to the world terrifying all of us for all kinds of reasons. Our orders to stay at home meant we had plenty of time to consume televised intense social unrest. This day though, I walked away from the spot where I’d spent days in a fetal position just watching and crying. I can’t be sure, but I think that spot on my couch is stained with tears. For me, the pandemic hit every spot not yet healed, and my business was and is in peril. Having to furlough my entire team was brutal, and remains one of the most difficult things I have ever done. So, I walked out to my hammock, and stared into the cloudless, beautiful central Florida sky and I audibly said “what now?”.
I closed my eyes and turned my face so that I could feel the warmth of the sun, but my heart reported dark and cold emotions and led to more tears and more questions. My sadness had little to do with my seemingly vanishing twenty- six career– my sadness matched that of almost every human on the planet.
As I lay in that hammock on that beautiful spring day, I stared at the book laying in my lap, and could not comprehend even a sentence. My brain was full of fear and paralyzed by decisions I already made; and my body was commandeered by all of it. The decisions that still waited for me simply threatened to drown me.
That April day may be one of the first times I comprehended the diagnosis given to me in that psych ward so many years ago. PTSD was making the rules: when I slept, if I could eat and how many tears dropped down my cheeks. All of this was met with frustration. Because while I certainly am not unaffected by the pandemic, I was lying in a hammock behind a house that belongs to me with no threats of losing. I planned to only get out of that hammock that day for the grocery delivery I was expecting, and so for my part, I felt very fortunate, and confused at my struggles.
The warmth of that sun in that hammock started to sting very much like each of those furlough calls. As I desperately sought relief from all of that pain, I remembered the words of my friend, JT: “You should start a podcast”, she said a year before. I had zero interest, her declaration seemed crazy to me and besides, I had no technical skills for such a feat and even if I had, I certainly did not have time. I opened my eyes at the revelation of that memory and the sun hurt them, I rolled out of the hammock (onto the ground) and bolted to my laptop and ordered a microphone. I couldn’t even be sure it was the right microphone, but Amazon declared it fit and so did I.
I’d been struggling to write and hoped that this would open some creativity and allow me to get back to writing. The tears dried up, the TV never came back on, and I put my foot of the podcast pedal and Wednesdays With Watson became more than a suggestion from my friend.
The title, “PTSD, Jesus and Me” had been knocking around in my head for a while. I was weary of looking for resources on PTSD, and how to live with it. I wondered how many other people were out there, like me, with little understanding of PTSD, or how Jesus could make it bearable and dare I say even show us the purpose for it all.
I sat down at my laptop and wrote the first episode, “Healing That Doesn’t Make Sense” on April 15, 2020. The words seemed to flow off of my fingers and on to the keyboard. I would love to tell you that I was like so many of my podcasting friends and I sat down and outlined the entire season, and that all the goals were outlined, but none of that is true. I had one goal for that first episode, I wanted people to know that is IS possible to survive trauma and pain. I wanted to teach people about PTSD, I wanted to help remove the stigma, I wanted people to know that they mattered.
On April 20th, after attempting to record in every room in my house, I climbed in a guest closet, surrounded by blankets, pillows, and darkness. I clicked record and starting talking. I don’t remember much of what I said as none of it was what I had written. Much like the keyboard and the words that get typed that aren’t mine, that was the experience I had in that closet that day. Those words weren’t mine, and I knew that I had stepped into an obedient spot, for such a time as this.
On April 22, 2020, Wednesdays With podcast was born. That first episode highlighted the joy in my voice because I found something to do with my time and pain; but that episode also highlights the pain of the past as I promised listeners a least a little part of my story of surviving thirty -five years of trauma. I hired a producer, who made the file sound good and at 11:15PM on April 21, 2020, I clicked the publish button.
My life has never been the same, and it never will be. Because in podcasting, and thereby helping people, I have found the thing that my heart loves.
I had no idea what the Lord would do with it, and as I write this, I am still in shock. I am not in shock because of the amount of people who listen and support, I am in shock that so many people needed an authentic message on PTSD.
I called that first episode “Healing That Doesn’t Make Sense” because it simply does not make sense. The body of trauma that I have survived should have me still curled in that fetal position on my couch. But instead, these days I find myself behind microphones, cameras and keyboards with a single focus: telling people that Jesus can bring them Hope too. I want people to see me struggle in real time so that they can see that even with Jesus it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but it is all Hopeful and at the end of the day that foundation of His ever-present help in trouble is the only thing that any of us have.
2020 taught us that. And I can promise you, I am not going to let you forget it.