I know this is a really odd title but hang in there with me for a moment while I explain.
In 2012 and 2013, my community experienced three horrific natural disasters. Two wildfires and a massive flood. In all, 857 homes burned down. It was a gut-wrenching and terrible time for our city, and especially for those who lost their homes.
Yet, others that were impacted by these disasters went unnoticed. Families whose homes didn’t burn to the ground – but received unfathomable damage – faced, by some opinions, a harder time of recovery than those who lost it all.
REBUILD VS REPAIR
Recently, I visited a friend who endured the tragedy of the fires. Her street was the first to be touched by the flames as they raced down the mountainside. Today, the homes are nearly all rebuilt but you can still see the barren land and black twigs of trees left behind by the flames. Many homes in this neighborhood were lost, including the houses on either side of my friend’s house.
Their home “survived”.
In the aftermath, they had to deal with the insurance company. A house completely lost is easier to handle than one that has to be inspected in every square inch. Repairing, replacing, and cleaning everything that had been damaged by intense heat and smoke was stressful, expensive, and drawn out. They said it would have been better if their house had burned down. Multiple families in the same situation repeated this sentiment. Even those (I met) that lost their homes admitted they were thankful they didn’t have to deal with what their neighbors were going through. It was a hard enough time as it was.
OUR EMOTIONAL HOUSE
We all walk along the road of “hard knocks”. No life is perfect. Some live through horrible atrocities of physical or sexual abuse. It is easy to embrace and support the lives of those who endure those tragedies we can see with our eyes. It’s tragic and no one should go through it.
Yet, for those experiencing emotional tragedies, it can be harder.
As onlookers, and for those in the midst of it, there is nothing visible to sink their teeth into. Not everyone can relate. Some abuse is so subtle, it is only recognized by the recipient, and even then, not at first. Not until they realize that they are dying inside do they look around to determine what has been chipping away at their soul. It’s a slow death from the inside. Once identified, it is easy to recognize – but not to those on the outside.
When there has been verbal, mental, emotional, and spiritual abuse, the damage can be so great that recovery can take years. Finding the parts of us that have been hurt may take awhile. The outside looks great and there is no physical evidence of trauma, yet the destruction is deep, and the recovery long and hard.
WE WANT PROOF
I’ve met many who suffered at the harsh whipping of the tongue. They ALL say the same thing: “I wish he/she would just hit me so there is at least visible proof of the pain/abuse.”
I’m trying to understand better the perception we have of the unseen tactics of the enemy and why it seems harder to recover from emotional damage than physical pain.
As I was meditating with the Lord this morning, I asked Him why it is so difficult for people, especially Christians, to understand emotional, mental, verbal, and spiritual abuse.
It was then that the thought came to my mind:
“Sometimes it’s easier when the house burns down.”
It’s certainly something to ponder.
Note: I am not declaring anything here. Simply sharing a thought & observation. The observation that when there is "proof" of damage, it can be easier to identify and heal. Sometimes, that which is subtle may not get as much attention, but may result in a more difficult recovery.