Some years ago I was having a conversation with my mother (aka OG Judy) about love and family and she said, “There are some loves I believe you SHOULD be able to take for granted.” It wasn’t until recently I began understanding what this meant because aren’t we always talking about how we shouldn’t take love for granted? To use the analogy given to me recently by a friend, who’s more like a brother, this is like gravity. When’s the last time you thought about gravity? You don’t. Because it’s such a sure thing we don’t have to question it or worry if it will be there. This brings me to another sure thing. When it comes to healing we will break before we heal.
In high school, while running in the gym I tripped on a bar that was sticking out from beneath the bleachers and broke my right ankle. During the examination with my doctor right before he caste the broken limb he said, “I know this is painful but it’s better you broke it than fractured it because you’ll actually heal better and this ankle will be stronger.” When he said stronger it was in reference to my left ankle and a torn ligament that to this day has never fully healed.
Moment of truth: I have been cracking, slowly for years. Not sure when it started but I know when the cracks started to lead to a shattering of sorts. It was this shattering that prompted a move from the East Coast back home to the West Coast, and a year after that finding myself in a depression, and two years after that experiencing the death of two family members, back to back, one being my father all of which brought me to a final and official tipping point.
My significant other at the time was an avid supporter of therapy. In my junior and high school years I’d had what I refer to as a spiritual advisor but therapy I thought was different. Therapy was scarier. Going not only meant I would have to admit to myself that something was out of harmony (a harmony I alone couldn’t get right), it also meant being willing to be open about EVERYTHING.
For me, one of the hardest aspects or therapy and healing has been having to identify what hurts. I’ve come to realize that much of what hurts has been buried for so long that I forgot the hurt was even there. And the hurt looks different now. It looks like detachment. It looks like anger. It looks like indifference or self preservation. It even looks like strength. But it’s pain…behind a wall.
In trying to make sense of this breaking that has attached to my healing, I’ve questioned why it has to be this way and it comes back to the nature. These are the facts: A seed before it roots must first break through its skin. The caterpillar before it emerges as a butterfly breaks through its cocoon. The bird before it breathes its first breath of air breaks through its shell. And a woman’s body before it pushes out a baby, not always but often, tears in places so that the baby has room to come into the world.
This is the not so beautiful, rosy or feel good part of our healing. But, the breaking that precedes it is also the breaking that leads us to and through it. And, when it comes to faith, mine, yours ours, it’s in the healing like gravity, we don’t have to question it, we just have to know it’s real and that if we heal we’ll end up like my right ankle, STRONGER.