The small wall calendar in my cubicle still show the month of September. I did not neglect it on purpose, but perhaps parts of me still feel stuck in September. 2018 was a rough year, and I handled it very, very poorly.
I didn’t know how to deal with what I was feeling. I couldn’t describe what it was. And that was the problem. So came the small constant voice in my head telling me that maybe I should be self destructive to numb myself as a coping mechanism. Self destruction to me, I thought, looked like binge drinking, partying, and to even consider smoking. I didn’t realize what my actual destructive ways were.
In December, I made a rash decision to undergo a small and simple medical procedure, not because I needed it, but because I was so desperate to heal that I figured if I have this done, then at least I can say something is healing and will eventually heal. But I was wrong. That rash decision ended up costing me a couple thousand dollars in medical bills, months of going in and out of the doctor’s office, and months of uncertainty about how the wound was actually healing. I was so upset with my decision that I beat myself up over it. I replay the moment I made the decision again and again and truly felt so much shame and regret. All this suffering could have been prevented. My friend asked me, “Have you forgiven yourself for the decision you made?” I don’t know. I was weak. I was desperate to heal myself of myself. I thought if I could fix just one concrete thing, I would be able to heal myself from my internal struggles. It didn’t really work out that way.
But through this season of healing, I learned a few things:
- I am the only one I have. I saw how I was hurting and I made an effort to fix myself. I sought a solution. It was a stupid decision nonetheless and I dealt with the consequences of that decision, but it was a decision I made because it felt right in the moment. I nursed myself back to health. I was there for myself, like I always had been. I loved myself even when I felt unlovable.
- As I get older, each season of suffering and pain seems to get more and more intense. I reflect back and realize how easy it was then. But hindsight is always 20/20. This is a reminder that I have gone through numerous seasons of pain and suffering that I thought I wouldn’t be able to overcome. I will get through seasons of trials again.
- I have to learn how to trust myself and trust that I will be okay.
- I am learning more and more about myself through each season: how I hurt, how I heal, what makes me sad, what makes me laugh.
- I cannot fix one part of myself expecting another part to heal.
More importantly, if there is one takeaway from this note, it’s this: There is healing all around us. Drawing the curtains to let light in in the morning. In the way lights cast shadows on the wall at sunset. The arrival of spring. The warmth of the sun after a long winter. New music. The sound of people’s voices. Reading a new book. Taking walks. The sound of the rain. The sound of waves. Snowy days. A cup of warm tea. Long conversations about nothing and everything.
There is pain and hurt all around us, but there is also love, healing, and mending, even if it’s in small measures. Small moments of joy add up.
In order to know and appreciate joy, we must live through woe. Hang in there. You will get through this.
Wishing you lots of healing.