September 2019 Newsletter

Thank you to all of our faithful supporters and encouragers through the years. We
appreciate you so much & are excited to discover what direction Mountain
Haven will be heading as we seek answers, rest, & direction this next year. We will
be taking another year of 2019-2020 to reset and reorient our future after the last year of this
health battle. We are hoping to have some direction and ideas in the next year. Thank you for

standing with us.

Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $2700.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $870.00 Remaining Need: $1,870.00

Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened. 1.) Kevin goes to wound care weekly and we are still on a journey of battling his Crohn’s disease and all the ramifications that have followed in the form of a continual loan that will not heal. But thankfully he has done extremely well during his hunting and outfitting season. He has been out to Colorado a few times in the last month to do some scouting, guiding, and personal hunting. 2.) The doctors are recommending that Kevin take six weeks off and not work after the scouting and hunting season are over and we are thoughtfully processing the possibility of trying to do that as Kevin does not have benefits through any of his jobs. And we are trying to remain financially accountable and responsible. We want to step out in faith for that so we are asking that you would please pray and believe that we can do that. 3.) September brings the start of 10th grade and 6th grade for our two girls. Both are at incredible charter schools.

Top Prayer Requests: Pray for the pain that comes from the aftermath of trauma and loss and for connections to build despite this pain


Mountain Haven Newsletter – September 2019

“Lovers find secret places Inside this violent world where they make transactions with

beauty” Rumi

There is a very violent and stark loneliness that trauma, loss, and pain bring to the
human experience. In my job as a hospice social worker I have the incredible privilege to
take part in hundreds of conversations about grief and loss. In these conversations we
talk a lot about the spectrum of grief, and how the loss experienced by the death of
someone we love brings one form of overpowering grief; however there are really many
different forms of grief that we experience merely by living in this world and taking part in true relationship and intimacy with each other.

I’ve been putting a lot of internal pressure on myself lately to just “get over things” and
telling myself that it’s time to move out of this dark season; that it’s time to be grateful that we are no longer in the darkest part of this health battle or in the lonely and complex battle on the mountain. How many of you do that? Pressure yourself to move on? but then your circumstances or your situations re-trigger or excavate a part of yourself you thought was either buried or dealt with; and suddenly you find yourself that little boy or little girl again crying out for comfort or for rest? Needing a reprieve from so much responsibility.

I’ve actually spent a lot of my life reading hundreds of books and tackling my internal
conflicts and my inner demons with gusto, passion, and hope. Somehow I believed that
the more I read,the more I searched, and the more I unpacked that the more I would find
peace. I’m not denying that there are times I have tremendous peace, but I am admitting
that in my humanity, and in my life, that the moments I don’t have peace I put pressure
on myself to get it. To feel it! I do this because I think I should be over my childhood
hurts, abandonment, loss and abuse. I do it because I think I should be stronger; and
now that I am half a century old I should be wiser. And really a lot of times I do it because
I think people are sick of hearing it, and I feel ashamed for how deep and how intensely I
live life and feel melancholy. I don’t want to wear anyone out. The truth is I have
struggled with gripping and debilitating depression because of my fear and insecurity
that the remnants of my past and my present still can shake me the way that they do. I
find it sad in the wake of recent suicides by really strong people of faith that we still live
in a culture that promotes indifference, and even judgement and confusion over despairing individuals.

Perhaps aftermath should not just be defined as a period of time -and then- it’s over.
Perhaps aftermath is an epoch. The beginning of an era. The emergency and the crisis
are gone; the adrenaline, the stress, the sleepless nights, and the tears that seemed
uncontrollable during the trauma seem almost like a distant memory: in the past and out
of reach. They are really distinctive elements of a transformation that not only occurred, but continues to occur.

I know that my emotional current often runs deeper and more intensely then some of you
readers, some of my friends, and even some of my family. But I also know many of you
perhaps haven’t stopped to look within or evaluate what your pain and loss has done to
you, or how it’s spilling over into relationships. And how it’s impacting your ability to
know others more deeply and see yourself more clearly. But my question to you is what
trauma, what grief, what loss may still haunt you and may still be evident in your most intimate relationships?

I have been fortunate that since we have moved back to Minnesota and experienced a
major move, career changes, four surgeries, two major hospitalizations, multiple
emergency room visits, melanoma, a trip to the Mayo Clinic, and now weekly wound care
appointments; that I have had to face myself in the mirror and my fear has faced me
back. It’s not my best look! but God is not afraid of it so why am I? Why do I push myself
to get over loss? To forget the bad? To think only positive thoughts? My trauma story has been a thread throughout my whole life, it’s a thread I felt as a child of being forgotten and not being taken care of. This is something I’ve unpacked and I’ve uncovered over and over again in different seasons.

Now as the years have brought  many difficult circumstances without answers; and at times this fear has caused me to resent Kevin, or demand more from him, or to withdraw from him because I fear I am too much. Or this fear barrages me with intense and crippling paralysis to know what to do or to only engage in catastrophic , what’s next thinking? The point I’m making is that our circumstances aren’t really just our circumstances; and that the aftermath of what we do in response to our losses- self inflicted or circumstance inflicted- has ripple effects. These effects shape and inform our intimate relationships, whether we want them to or not.

If we face ourselves with condemnation and pressure, blithely saying to ourselves, “ok
Chris, you can only think on things that are pure and lovely and have a good report”, and
we ignore the trauma, the pain, the doubt, the losses, and the fractures then what are we
really changing our thinking about? In order to think on things that are pure and lovely
we must’ve had to have had an opposite experience and an opposite set of thoughts
about those things. Real joy is experienced when it is juxtaposed with real despair. And I
think Christ himself understands the aftermath of trauma and the experiential reality of
an internal conflict between being present in this world and simultaneously knowing that he needed to be absent from it.

What I’m suggesting is that internal conflict should be part of the Christian experience.
Trauma, our own and others, allows us to see others through the eyes of nonjudgmental
love. It allows us to invite ALL into our circle without division, and without expectations.
It helps us act in sacrificial ways outside of our comfort zone to touch the hearts and
lives of others impacted by trauma. Knowing that it is only that undefinable love of
Christ, that ungraspable love of the creator of the universe, that holds us in our
humanity; compels is to good works, and changes us despite it I love being married to Kevin because he’s real about his struggles and I can be real with him about mine, and while we might struggle and get mad at each other, and try to change each other in our fits of anger: we know ultimately it is only through us truly working through our trauma and our pain that we can create space to love one another in a transformative way. By connecting with our familial loss from past family of origin memories, and circumstantial bumps we can use that pain to inform us how to change our behaviors towards one another. How to live in a more impactful and intentional manner. I think that’s what’s happening.

I can remember as he was sitting on the side of his bed and he was coming out of
surgery in late April, I was weeping so hard. Then when he awoke and looked me in the
eyes and said “hi honey”, I broke with joy, a joy found right smack dab in the midst of my
deepest fear. It got me thinking that God himself had come down to give me comfort.

This is what we can do for one another as fellow travelers in this world. We can create
space, authentic and human space, where people can just be- and we can trust that God
is doing a miraculous work in them and us. Instead of forcing ourselves to think we have
it all figured out and we need to do the work for them. Or we just give them empty
platitudes. We can live in the aftermath with others. Truly live in sacrificial and intentional
ways . And as the poet Rumi said “ we can make transactions with one another that result in beauty” and the world can be changed through that.

I think Carl Jung had it right when he said-“In the end, the face we turn towards ourselves is the face that we will turn toward the outer world.”

I would challenge all of us to face ourselves honestly so we may face others with the same honest invitation to transformative relationship.

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