For the Sake of Healing

I am sitting here more whole than I have ever been in my life, and that feels good to acknowledge. But at the same time, I can still feel all the breaks in me. The breaks mean so many different things to me. The breaks are the damaged cracks left on the fabric of my soul by trauma, by hurt, by the ways I’ve let myself and others down. The breaks are also the panic attacks, nervous breakdowns, and knowing that something inside me may allow one of those breaks to happen again in the future.

In this moment, I’m sitting in discomfort because I extended an olive branch to someone that has hurt me, but also someone I have hurt. God led me to extend the olive branch, and I listened to him. Interacting with this person hasn’t been positive, but we will always cross each other’s paths. I’m good at keeping a score of others’ wrongs towards me and then quantifying it to come up with an internal system of validating my non-forgiveness as boundaries. The thing is, I can still have boundaries while forgiving someone and extending kindness. The interaction with this person did not go as planned; they were abrasive and wanted to continue the same old pattern. This process and the work I have done on myself give me the knowledge that engaging with her would not go well. So I did not engage in the back and forth but kept reiterating my intention in sending the message, “I have no ill will towards you, I wish you well. When we cross paths, let’s not have it be like this.” These words still didn’t land, and I have to accept that. I’m not uncomfortable because this person doesn’t like me; it’s my ego that is uncomfortable because someone who I see as beneath me or having wronged me so much more than I have ever wronged her is rejecting my kindness. But that’s not how this works, and my ego needs to shut up because it’s not running the show anymore.

So I will sit in this discomfort without a drink, without ill will, and without spewing unkind words about this person as I would have in the past. I know now that the only way out of this stuff is through it, and I have to remember that growth is painful, but it’s also beautiful.

I see what is occurring as part of a process to reset some of the breaks—then finding a way to align the damaged areas better so that the brokenness can heal. I believe that is the part of this journey where we begin to heal and break free truly. As I’ve said previously, I tend to envision the breaks and damage on my soul as permanent and ugly. The Japanese art practice of “Kintsugi,” where broken pieces of pottery are put back together using Gold, has been compared to the healing and therapeutic work of addressing our broken places by many. This ideology is a beautiful sentiment that works well for many people but does not resonate with how I feel. Parts of this healing process feel abrasive, like a caustic substance burning into me. I don’t feel like I’m being put back together and turned into a pretty piece of art. I feel like I’m being bathed in acid rain and meant to sit through it because I know that this burning pain is a purification process. Maybe those breaks are intended to be eroded away into non-existence.

Don’t get me wrong; there are parts of breaking free from trauma, addiction, and pain that feel beautiful. I have moments where I feel so much peace, connection to God, and who I am that it’s almost like I’m floating in euphoria. I feel so much love and peace inside me, where there was once darkness and crushing anxiety. There are moments that don’t feel like acid rain on my raw and hurting skin. However; to me these moments of peace have nothing that could be described as being put back together with a lovely gold binding solution.

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