Plates. Plates momentarily sent me into a very dark place while I was shopping in a second-hand store recently. Feeling my heart starting to race, I wanted to run. But the logical side of me kept telling the scared side of me that everything was ok, and that I was safe.
Triggers. Those sights, smells, and sounds that take me back. It was the first time I had seen or thought of that style of dishes since I left the abuse. My healing is complete, but there are still those unexpected reminders that jump out at me from time to time; surprises that frighten me. Triggers.
But those were the dishes on which I fed my family; the dishes on which I proudly served meals to church members while we were in ministry. The strange thing is, many times the things that trigger a negative response also hold pleasant memories. Such a contradiction. Such a paradox.
So I stood there for a moment and processed my fear, and reconciled the good and the bad as I had done so many times before.
Sometimes it’s a song; sometimes a place; sometimes a phrase from a movie; even certain foods can be a trigger, creating a maze that my mind has to navigate in a split second. As I navigate, the peace returns and I begin to breathe normally again, embracing the realization that everything is fine and life is good.
God has had to remake my thought process and has given special grace to understand why dishes could cause me stress. He has also revealed to me that as each surprise presents itself that He is there, steady and constant, taking me in his arms of love and comfort.
So with each surprise I find I am stronger, more prepared and ready to stare down any fear that may arise. With each victory, I can embrace the good that surrounded the cause of the momentary fear. I look for the good and know that each of those memories—good and bad—made me who I am today; and that makes me proud.
I am strong.
So, now I can resolutely say those dishes hold some really precious memories of my children around my table. And that’s a good thing. God is good. It’s all good. And they’re just plates.