6 Powerful Things to Remember About Healing
Healing will leave scars.
I have a set of scars on my face from a childhood accident. The scars are barely visible today, but beneath them I can remember riding a Ski-Doo with my father, being too young to be in the driver’s seat, going too fast around a corner, running into a barbed wire fence, seeing blood on snow, running back to my house, my tears blended with my families tears, bloodied towel on face, emergency ride to the hospital, needles, and surgery.
Snippets of memories that are both real and pieced together from discussions with my family. But my scars are a declaration: The healing is complete.
Healing is possible, but it will leave scars. Beneath every scar is a memory of an injury and pain. The pain may leave you, but the memories of the pain will remain. Never be embarrassed about your scars, they are like a Sergeant's stripes.
- Some scars heal and we move on.
- Other scars seem to bring a lasting impact.
- Some scars are visible, others are invisible.
- Some scars you carry with you and you need time before you can let them go.
Jesus encountered a man beside a pool of water and he healed him. Then he left the man with his scars and told him to get up and walk.
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- Know that healing is a personal thing and will leave scars that are as unique as you are. At this stage of my life, my body has some aches and a few creaks. Sometimes my mind races and I face seasons of depression, and I hear a high pitched squeal all of the time (see article on Tinnitus and recovery). If I were to ask for help, my help would look different than your what you might need. We each need something different and what we need can change over time.
When was the last time you listened to your scars? They are telling you a story of your resilience, your strength, your bad-assery. You have already faced so much and you can overcome the next thing, no matter what you may feel or no matter what you may face. Remember: Healing is possible for you.
3. We can get used to being sick. We forget that our scars are a declaration of our resilience rather than a tear in the skin or a tear in our minds. The pain and the injury are real, but so is our resilience.
In the story, Jesus asked the man, "Do you want to get well?" The guy immediately gets all nasty at Jesus, "Did you know there's not enough help around here and I'm just too damned slow to get around?" Then Jesus heals him. I can relate to the man. When I am sick, I get cranky. I hope that I would just say "Yes" to Jesus' question, but I can't judge the guy. I imagine that being ill for thirty-eight years makes it difficult to imagine a life without pain or to see beyond the scars.
4. Recovery may involve Yoga and walking. Jesus heals the man, and then he says "Get up, take your mat with you and go for a walk."
Healing may involve going for a long walk where you may not know your destination. Jesus did not tell the man to grow up and change his life. He just told him to bend over, pick up his mat and go for a walk. The journey often will take us where we need to go. You don't have to change much if you want to get better, but if you don't want to keep getting sick, you may have to change your lifestyle.
5. If you want to change your life, don't go to church... go shopping instead. When I read the story, I let my mind fast forward a little. The guy goes for a walk and after walking for a while, he realizes he needs some new stuff: shoes, a water bottle, a sketchbook, a travel mug for coffee and a backpack to hold his stuff. I think it is interesting that Jesus didn't tell him how to live his life or that he needed to go to church. Jesus told him just walk and you will figure out what you need to drop (or stop doing) and what you need to pick up.
Your scars are telling you that you have faced a great deal of pain and that you can overcome. Your healing is often right in front of you in the form of your adversity, your opportunities and the relationships that both challenge and inspire you.
6. If you need to hang onto something that makes you comfortable, go ahead. Sometimes our comfort item is a mat, a stuffed animal or a book. Other times it is a behavior, an addiction or scars that we have picked up along the way. It does not matter what you carry with you because it's not about the mat or the scars. Healing needs to be worked into the inside and that may require yoga, a little massage, a lot of coffee and allowing ourselves to be loved.
Healing is possible. No matter what you have faced. You can heal from your addiction, incest, trauma, sexual assault or rape, cancer, depression, panic attacks, racing and disturbing thoughts, suicide attempts, cutting and other forms of self-injury, bullying and anything else that life may throw your way.
Sean Swaby is a writer in the areas of mental health and addiction, family, leadership, and anything that demonstrates the power of story. You can find him on Facebook, here. In addition to being an Editor with the Good Men Project, Sean has been published with Babble, The Mighty, Be You Media Group and Addiction Unscripted. Sign up for his blog if you want to receive the latest and best of his writing. And if you like Sean's writing, vote for his page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.