IF you are human, if you have a heartbeat, you have probably been hurt in life. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Life isn’t fair and no one can have everything they want. Sometimes a disappointment comes from someone who promised not to let you down. Sometimes people lie or hit or cheat. Sometimes gravity sends you sprawling flat on your face… on asphalt… in front of everyone… tearing a hole in the knee of your brand new jeans and shattering what little dignity you had left after you spilled coffee on yourself. Life hurts in a myriad of ways. Sometimes it is an intentional injury. Sometimes it’s just what happens when you put imperfect people in the same small space… especially if you add gravity.
Have you noticed how the tumbles in life rarely happen on soft padding? And how the indignities rarely happen without an audience? Sometimes the audience even has a cell phone handy with the camera rolling and you get to youtube your misery for the rest of forever.
If we’re lucky, we have a little time to recover before the next assault occurs. I’m rarely lucky. And some wounds are deep, deeper than we realize. And we think that they will never heal. We get used to the pain being there and forget what it’s like to walk through our day without that burden. Then one day, someone brings up something that draws the memory back to the surface. It still hurts, but it hurts a little less… like it’s filtered with time and wisdom and looks a little less hideous. A little further down the line, it may come up again and hurt more because something else has made you more sensitive and you may begin to doubt that you will ever truly heal.
One day though, one day you will realize that the pain is gone. You will be able to acknowledge that you are a better person, or at least a stronger, wiser, or more sensitive person, for the lesson it taught you. You will wonder when it happened because you weren’t aware of the burden lessening and eventually disappearing. I can’t usually pinpoint it and just resolve to be thankful that the healing happened.
In recent years, I went through an incredible disappointment. I remember fighting to let go, move on, heal. I struggled for a while. It wasn’t that I hadn’t forgiven. I understood that I wasn’t the only one hurt. I understood that all involved wished it could have happened differently. I did not hold them accountable for hurting me. Yet, even after the forgiveness, I felt the loss. I felt the betrayal and the distrust. Time passed. I don’t remember when it stopped hurting, when it stopped feeling like a loss and started feeling like a lesson. It was recently brought up again and it felt like it had happened to another person; as though someone I cared about had been hurt, but it wasn’t me. That’s because it really wasn’t me, it was the girl I used to be that had experienced that. The me that I am today has the benefit of the lesson from it. The me today has the benefit of hindsight and understanding and healing.
Even more recently than that revelation, someone who was witness to my going through that ordeal, who couldn’t do anything to help or change it, was able to give me a gift that I will treasure forever. He couldn’t turn back time and undo what someone else had done, and from what I can now see that I learned from it, I sincerely wouldn’t want him to. But, he gave me something better; two things actually. What he gave me in the tangible realm is immensely valuable on multiple levels; but what he gave me in gesture, the sheer kindness of the gift, acknowledging my past experience, and valuing me for having gone through it, has been a balm to my soul. See, healing happens. It doesn’t always feel like it and it may take a great deal of time, but it does happen. And sometimes our losses are even recompensed in a completely surprising and humbling way.