It’s loud. It’s incredibly loud. It’s like I hear every individual person. I have my back to them. I had to move because the visual assault of seeing so many people in my midst was too much. But I can still hear them. All around me. The sound is deafening. Where can I run and hide so I can be safe in my own mind?
I’m in public. At a concert. At a Newsboys concert actually. I came here to volunteer as I always do for the Christian bands that come to town. I thought today would be no different. I thought for sure I would be able to handle it but there has been such a sensory overload since I got here.
The busy, repeating pattern on the carpet. The many levels in the theater. The many booths where people were setting up. I’ve been here several times before but tonight has been different. Much different.
I was thankful when they put me down a long hall to handle VIP tickets. It was away from everyone else, away from the crowd, and I got to work with one of my favorite girls that volunteers with me. Her with her cane and me with my headache, we had a good thing going with a table and chairs. You don’t usually get a chair to sit in at these things.
I was hoping that after taking the tickets, I would be able to enjoy at least some of the show. I saw the sign stating there would be strobes, but still I hoped. Hoped it wouldn’t be too much. Sure, I was having a hard enough time in the lobby but I was going to try and see the Newsboys perform if I could. I mean I’m already here.
When the Newsboys were about to take the stage, I walked into the theater through the side door with my husband, holding onto his arm in the dark. As neon green laser lights shot across the room at all angles, I tried to steady myself. The crowd was getting excited and I could feel the energy pumping as the boys were about to take the stage. As soon as they did, the strobe lights kicked in. And I knew it was over for me.
It was too much. It was all just too much. It was so loud in there. The lights were too much. All the resolve I had mustered with the lasers disappeared when those strobe lights came on. The visual overload itself was enough to send me rushing out of there so fast that I never even saw them appear on stage.
I sat in the hallway and just cried. Overwhelmed with feeling now too. What is wrong with me? I can’t even enjoy a concert. Why are all these things happening to me? Will I ever be normal again?
My husband came out eventually, tried to make me laugh and console me at the same time. He’s good like that. He doesn’t understand what I’m going through either or why any of this is happening. We just do the best we can to get through the curveballs life keeps throwing at me. Last week it was chest pain that sent me to the ER. Who knows what it will be tomorrow.
What I do know though is that God is still there with me. When I’m falling apart screaming why, He’s the one ready to pull me back together and set me back on course. As much as I want to crawl into a dark corner, I can’t. I know I can’t. I have way too much work to do.
Besides my family, ministry is the only thing that keeps me going. I can be at my absolute worst, and yet push through if it means helping someone work through something. I will push through if it means walking with someone down a difficult path. I will push through if it means serving others and sharing the love of Christ. Yes, I have to take care of myself but I also have His strength to rely on when He asks me to do something I don’t feel strong enough to do. No matter what I’m going through, I know that I can still go on, I can still make a difference. It’s a matter of making sure that I don’t walk away when it really matters.
I would have loved to watch the Newsboys tonight but it hurt no one if I didn’t. But being there for someone else when they are in pain? That is something definitely within my limits.