My friend D and her husband B stopped by my studio. B has cancer. It was the first time I’d seen him since he started chemotherapy. Our hug that day wasn’t just a greeting, it was a communion.
We all cried. And then we just sat on the floor, easy and immediate. We talked about the decisions to be made. More tears. And as always, laughs. B is wickedly funny. And ridiculously tall and handsome. And on that day he was struggling with his brokenness. Feeling toppled, like only giants can.
Amidst fatigue, and skin on bones, and life with death decisions, it’s really difficult to see if you’re winning the fight or not.
In-between his reports of being curled up in the fetal position for days at a time, feeling more in love with his wife than ever, and walking through hell itself, I reached for the most hopeful truth that I could find. It had to be hopeful and it had to be true. I said…
“I think this is what healing looks like.”
We were quiet for a while. No rush. “You know,” he nodded, tugging our heart strings together as it dawned on him, “I think this is what healing looks like.”
Isn’t it always this way? Whether a tumour is trying to ravage our bodies, or hatred is gutting the body politic. Or we’re hauling our psyche up to the next peak of clarity—isn’t healing always really fucking messy? Do we not become unrecognizable while we are reassembling our identities?
I’ve danced, and declared, and prayed, and wrote, and raged, and faith’d my way out of various agonies. And it was amazing to feel myself becoming more me than ever. But in-between those power-moments was some ugly terror and resentment. Bones into soup. Comfort into chaos. Commitments into dissolution.
This is what healing looks like.
Healing is as ugly as “healed” is gorgeous. If we don’t judge the mess of it, we’re more likely to get to the other side of it sooner—and more deeply healed and stronger than we ever imagined possible. Scars and all. Healed.
For the person(s) you know in the beautiful mess of healing…press share. xo
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Photo credit: Catherine Just