We’re nearing the stage of renovating our home when we need to figure out where to put our pictures. That means I also can’t help reflecting on what life was like at the moment of the picture in question, and phew boy, does that bring up lots of feels.
Perhaps the most stereotypical thing you can do in middle age is to look at your wedding picture and to ponder all of the ways you’ve changed since that joyful day.
For myself, I saw my optimistic 20-something self and thought, “A lot of healing needs to happen for you.”
I had no idea how much healing I would need, and I would venture that I had aimed to be at least somewhat self-aware and humble. Whatever measure I possessed of humility or self-awareness was hardly enough.
Yet, having cracked into my 40’s, I’m looking back at all of the ways that my healing journey has made my life so much better, and knowing that I still have plenty to sort out, I am at least a little bit hopeful about the future—at least for the space that’s in between my ears and for the people around me who I love the most.
So many of the conflicts, challenges, and shortfalls of my life can be traced, at least in part, to the deep healing I’ve needed in my life. The lesson seems to be that I have needed healing more than I could have guessed, and I will continue to need healing in ways that I cannot predict.
The theme is more or less this: healing, lots of it.
Seeing the amount of healing needed can be discouraging. It can feel like a long checklist of stuff to sort out. But perhaps it can be hopeful as well.
If we are aware of our failures or struggles up to this point in our lives, then perhaps we’ll be encouraged to learn that things could get a little bit better if we pursued healing.
As I’ve sought to understand why I think and act as I do, the roots of my anxiety, anger, fear, and disconnection from reality have shown that there is something to address in what otherwise appears to be unexplained chaos.
Just about every struggle, anxiety, or shortcoming in my life has some sort of root cause that can be explored in journaling and prayer. That root cause may not be easy to identify, and it may be extremely difficult to deal with. We may need a lot of help. I know I do.
Going through my healing journey up this point, I can see how that 20-something newly wed had a seeming tidal wave of challenges coming his way. There’d be an emergency room visit over a panic attack, therapy, EMDR, spiritual direction, and whole lot of help in so many other forms.
A lot of healing needed to happen, and I didn’t know that as a 20-something. I wish I had known just a little bit of what was coming my way and that it would be OK to struggle, to even hit what feels like rock bottom, and to seek help.
While I’m grateful for the healing I’ve gone through since then, I’m perhaps even more thankful for the simple knowledge that I will need a lot more healing in the years to come. I hopefully won’t be quite as surprised by my need to heal, and I have at least, hopefully, learned a few things by my healing process so far.