If there is one thing I should be an expert in but really know nothing about it's healing. A little over two years ago my body was torn apart in ways I would have never imagined possible and yet today I am whole. Cancer had infiltrated my body and the first step to health was cutting me open and removing the tumour. The cutting took about four hours. The healing took much longer.
In the days after my surgery I wondered how I would ever be whole again. I wondered if I would ever be able to laugh and play and run (okay, who are we kidding? I've never run ... not ever ... and I doubt I'll ever run. Not even if I'm chased by an axe murderer!) again. I couldn't see how I'd be able to move through my life like I did before. I thought I was too hurt, that I'd be too scarred, to every fully live again. I settled in my mind that things would never be the same and I'd have to adjust to and accept a new normal.
I was so right and so wrong all at the same time.
I did heal. Little by little, day by day, my wound closed. Stitches and staples were removed. Scabs came and went. It was painful, then itchy, then irritating for a while. The wound went from angry red to a light pink and healed into a fine pale line. When I touch the scar I can feel that it's there and sometimes when I move a certain way I can feel the tightness and pulling of the healed tissue but for the most part I am healed. So much so that I rarely think about the surgery and the pain any more.
So if I have experienced such a profound healing then how can I know nothing about it?
Healing is a mystery. It happens in secret and by measures. It happens slowly when you focus on it and rapidly when you don't. Healing takes time - longer if you constantly pick at the scab and poke at the wound. Healing is most successful when the wound is cared for and then left to mend on its own.
If I know this about my body then why did it take me so long to apply this to my heart?
We were all devastated. We were shaken to the core. We were damaged. We were wounded.
At the time that this all came to a head I thought there was no way back from this. I thought this man had forever changed our family dynamic. I thought he had ruined who we were trying to be, as a family. I was overwhelmed, depressed and heart broken. I thought I was going to feel that way forever.
We sought help from councillors, pastors, doctors and legal professionals. We patched ourselves up and tried to move on but it felt like someone was always poking at the wound. We couldn't get away from this man - by product of living in a small community - so just seeing him would set me, Mr. Awesome or our affected child off. Running into this man on the street or in the school or in the community would send us into a tailspin. Us ... me.
Mr. Awesome and even the Affected Child seemed to heal faster. They were able to leave the bandage in place, to let the mending begin. Me? No so much. I struggled with rage, hurt and disappointment for months. I wanted justice. I wanted ... I wanted ... ack ... I don't know what I wanted but I wanted it so bad that I was consumed by it.
Gradually I realized that I had to live. I had to re-engage with my world and not return to the moment of hurt every time I saw this man. So I did. I lived. I became good at masking my homicidal rage whenever I saw him or had to talk about what happened. I sounded reasonable, for the most part but I knew I had not healed. I knew that I had let the wound become infected with hate.
About a month ago, another parent who had had a similar experience with this same man spoke to me about how devastated she was still, how she was still so angry and hurt. As I stood there talking with her, trying to offer words of comfort I realized that I was in exactly the same place she was. The words I was saying to her were exactly the words I needed to apply to my own wound.
Over the next few days I thought about that conversation, I thought about my own feelings of anger and hate. I cried. I prayed. I waited in silence. I offered all my hate and brokenness and disappointed to God. And He took it. In essence, I removed the rotten bandage from the wound and allowed it to be cleaned and properly mended. I stopped picking at the scar.
I'm not 'over' what happened to our family but I am allowing healing to happen. I still don't like or trust this man but I have stopped revisiting me hurt every time I encounter him. My scar is scabbing over. Soon it will be just a faded line in our memory where a little tightness and discomfort exists but it won't hurt anymore.
It won't hurt. It will be healed.
God can heal a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.