Trauma and the Joy of Life
I just read this interview in Canada's MacLean's Magazine with retired Lieutenant General Rom√É¬©o Dallaire that I found very interesting, especially the parts concerning his own struggle to find joy in life since Rwanda. He admits that he finally realized that he could never return to the way things were or the way he was before the Rwandan crisis. His sense of "normalcy" was gone forever. He realized that what he had experienced would remain with him for the rest of his life and that he would never be free of it. He was asked if he thought joie de vivre was possible again. He said:
You know when you have that warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy, of serenity and joy, when your tummy is laughing? I haven't found that yet. Maybe someday.
I know exactly what he means! Although what I've seen isn't as horrific as Rwanda, I have seen some terrible things happen spiritually in the church in the name of God. I went through an extremely traumatic church split in 1997. I'll tell you about it sometime. I also went through a terrible dismissal from an international ministry, fired from my position in the ministry and as the pastor of the church that we planted there. That happened in 2002. All in the church in the name of God. We pretty much were able to protect our kids from the trauma of the first event. We couldn't the second. They were too old and mature and saw what was happening. It changed us all. These events cling to me. I've never felt normal again. I haven't experienced the joie de vivre I used to. Last night I was talking with my friends who've lost loved ones lately, and they too say they don't know if they will ever be the same again. I don't think so. But I believe there's a joy that goes beyond the circumstances of our condition. I have to, or what's the point?!
The fine art photograph is the creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen, and is from his "Mask" series.