Hope and Healing: A Journey
I wanted to tell a story, but I wasn't sure I had one to tell. Then I realized- I'm still here! and so are you. That alone must mean there was a beginning, an adventure, a plot twist, a villain, a tragedy, etc. We all have stories to tell. And we all subconsciously tell ourselves stories when s*** happens. The need for telling stories is hardwired in our DNA, so much so that when we are hurt our brain has to make up a story for why that happened. (Thank you Brene Brown, Rising Strong) Why all this talk about story telling? Because I've suddenly realized where I am in this story.
This blog was started in the fall of 2015. After some personally devastating circumstances, some named-some unnamed. I've made references to health, cancer, thyroid problems, losing a job and home, moving, betrayal, heartbreak,working, mothering and recovering hope in the midst of it all. The very first post I ever wrote has been the most read and shared to date, "Intro:The truth about Pain and Hope". At the time I felt that there weren't many faith based resources dealing with pain and hurt or how to recover from them.
I knew that my hope had been lost in the midst of this great earthquake in my life. My hope is based in a Loving, Faithful, and Present God. I shared John 16:33 "33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The bible doesn't promise us a perfect, peaceful, pain free existence. But it does promise that Jesus overcome this world, and since He lives in us, we will overcome it too. This has led me to believe that God's plan for our pain is for us to overcome. I am still in the midst of this "overcoming" Journey.
Fast Forward a year and a half later. It has been pretty discouraging to still be dealing with the effects of things internally and externally. I still live with symptoms and side effects of the surgery I had 18 months ago, the weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, etc. This is in the midst of ongoing efforts to eat healthy, and stay active, and ever changing prescriptions. Emotionally, I am not as drained by anger as I used to be. I've realized that for a time, the anger I felt was almost like a blessing in a disguise or at least a necessary part of the healing process. Because those first 6-12 months it was the only energy and steam that I had. I wanted those that hurt me to know the same pain that they caused. Then after awhile I knew the anger I had hurt me worse than it could hurt anybody else. After awhile longer I realized (by the grace of God) that I wouldn't want anyone to know the same pain that they caused me. If you let it, with Gods help, pain can lead to compassion. Greater compassion for ourselves and for others. I realized if I waited for the people who hurt me to validate the pain they caused, I would be waiting forever. Only God and I can validate that pain. By not hiding, burying, stuffing, ignoring, or even exploding with it.
The temptation in life is often to hide the less lovely parts of our lives and stories. To skip over the falls, to disguise the scars and bruises, to ignore the wounds caused by other people or even just situations we couldn't control. I'm not saying to give all the glory to tragedy and sorrow. But I do believe we only experience Joy to the extent that we don't show away from pain. "Our wholeness and wholeheartedness depends on the integration of all of our experiences" -Brene Brown. The start of this Journey was Act:1- Recovering Hope, where I walked into this Journey and recognized what was going on. This part of the Journey could be called Act: 2- Hope and Healing, owning and being honest about this Journey. Some stories I've made up about these struggles are true. But some things might have been assumptions, self protection, and things that need to change. I think it's the honest truth that most of us have been hurt and wronged. But the reasons for why we were hurt and wronged might not be true. Maybe it was planned and intentional. Or not. It wasn't because I'm not worth it, or bc I fail, or bc my best isn't enough. I'm giving myself permission to feel and be honest about what I'm feeling but also to heal and move forward. and I hope whoever is reading this gives themselves permission too.
"The most Dangerous Stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our Inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity"- Brene Brown. What has happened to me will always be apart of my story. But how it affects me and defines me can change. You can have both hope and heartbreak. You can be both a work of art and a work in progress. You can be both strong and weak. You can both own your story and rewrite it.
I had the privilege of having a quote I wrote be featured in Darling Magazines issue 18:the compassion issue. It captures this Journey well.
"I wish we as women would see our strength as beauty. Rather than just complexion, physical appearance, and body size. Bringing a baby into this world requires strength and is a beautiful thing. Having your heart broken and choosing to love again requires strength and is a beautiful thing. Taking a hit from cancer, depression, or overcoming any health challenges requires strength and fighting it daily is beautiful. I wish we as women would see our beauty in the power of what we've overcome".
Here's to being strong and whole in 2017!