It’s very common to open Facebook and read post after post filled with pithy quotes that have 700 likes and 300 shares. Truisms of life that we read and are spurred to comment with a resounding, “YES!!!” I have so many friends who are in pain right now. Suffering loss either by death, or break ups. I empathize with them and watch as they post reaffirming quotes that show they have resolve and gives them extra strength to keep going.
I sat with Harry on the couch yesterday after dinner. He reached out to hold my hand and we both reminisced about the first time his hand went across the table and our fingers touched. I will never forget that moment it was so sweet. We have many very good memories. But when I first met him and we were friends, I was still in a lot of pain over a bad break up with a very bad man. Now, I remember the pain, but I don’t feel it anymore. It feels so far away.
But does time really heal wounds? Is it simply time that has to march on, or do other things have to happen too? Or is it true that once we are scarred we become broken?
There is a quote that showed up on my Facebook newsfeed about relationships. It said,
“Grab a plate and throw it on the ground.
Did it break?
Now say sorry to it.
Did it go back to the way it was before?
Do you understand now?”
I remember being that broken plate and wondering how in the world I was going to put my life back together. I felt so broken. The thing is I didn’t invite any of the pain in. I didn’t want my ex-husband to have an affair and decide to leave me and my kids. I didn’t want to raise teenagers alone. I wanted everything to be ok. I wanted someone to love me. And when I thought I found a new person, I didn’t want him to lie to me over and over again. It was confusing because my heart just wanted to love. And all that kept happening was hurt. At times, I felt like a complete failure and wanted to give up. I flirted with the idea of taking pills, or driving off an overpass. The brokeness was so intense, I couldn’t imagine myself healed.
But wounds DO heal and then become scars that DO change us forever, but that doesn’t mean they keep hurting. If you don’t let them define you, (and that is a key point) eventually you forget the scars are even there. I had to keep my faith and believe that good things would come. I had to let go of what the “good” looked like and trust that whatever kind of good it was, it would be better than what I was currently going through. I had to get up each morning and put one foot in front of the other. I listened to kind voices around me and in my head that reminded me, I was worthy of better.
Also true and also seen on Facebook, is the quote,
“Everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.”
There was a time when I wanted to hang onto my baggage and wouldn’t let anyone pry it out of my fingers. Even though it was painful, it was the vision I had for my life. It had been taken away from me by someone else and I wanted to keep control. Even though it was already lost I didn’t want to accept it. And it took me a long time before I was OK. Some people take that suitcase and fling it over the side of a bridge into the sea and never look back. That’s not me. I take the case and place it on my bed and then take out each piece, look at it, analyze it, wonder about it. Unpacking my baggage took years. It’s nice to have the help of someone who loves you, but I’m afraid most of the hard work has to be done from within. You have to want to get better yourself before anyone can help you.
The help that you get from others gives you strength and helps you believe that you can do it. I had girlfriends and family who were there for me. Ready, willing, and able to lend an ear, give me a hand, listen, or do whatever I needed. But the final step to leaving behind the pain was actually moving on with my life. Not looking back anymore. Two years ago, that happened the day I kissed Harry for the first time. It was like God came in and removed the pain instantly. I still remembered what happened, and still had to work through why it happened the way it did. But I was no longer hurting. I was healed.
But what if it’s been a long time and you aren’t getting better? I’d venture to guess that is happening for one or two reasons. First, it could be that you aren’t learning to steer clear of the things you know will hurt you and you keep going back to the source of the pain or choose the same type of thing over and over again. And this next truth rounds out the Facebook quotes I’ll mention today. This one from Albert Einstein,
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you keep picking at a scab, the wound will never heal. Leave it alone. Stop engaging. Let yourself see what happens when you put time between the pain and yourself. You will be amazed at how different you feel. And overtime, amazed at how that difference actually leads to true healing.