A note from Emily

Dear friend,

I’m not entirely sure where you are in your healing journey. I’m not sure if anything feels different for your soul, your heart– your body. I’m not sure if you’re even ready to say that you’re on any type of journey. 

“They” may say it could have been worse. To that, I have to say we don’t play that game. Whatever harm and pain you have experienced, it wasn’t the design for goodness and connection intended for our flourishing in the garden of Eden. I have a friend who says that anything that is not Eden has to be named.

It has to be grieved, friend.

But I want to be honest with you. It’s hard. Really hard.  It involves stepping off the well-paved road of what others expect you to do with your pain.

I want to be honest that relationships will get trickier. The people you think might have your back, or might understand why you need to move towards change, or might at least not have an opinion, they may hurt you further. They may disappoint you. The people who you think you need to affirm you may say that you are selfish, that you are foolish, that you are overreacting.

See, it’s actually easier in a lot of ways for us to move through life with our low grade despair. As long as we are able to slap on a strained smile occasionally and gab about the weather this time of year, it works.

That naming and grieving is a grueling task. Most of us only have tattered corners of the picture of our lives. We can’t fully make out the shapes or the tones. At times, it feels like at best we are only guessing at how the cards fell. Our shallow breathing, our erratic heart rate, our twisted and grey dreams, our hazy mornings. All signs pointing to an invitation to identify and honor where our lives have been east of Eden.

Friend, I know this road is unmarked for you. You may be wondering if it’s a headlamp lighting the path or a machete that you need to begin clearing your way. Maybe both.

But let’s begin with a candle and some hiking boots.  Where we are going, we just need to take it one step at a time. This is no time for a sprint; we have no need to compare our stride or pace with another’s. We only need the grace and the assurance to know that each step may make our legs wobbly– but there will be moments of strength. If we move at the right pace, we will find that we are not careening over any edge into the darkness, but we have all the time we need to see the glimmer of moonlight on the trees and the first of sunlight breaking through the clouds.

You may fear the monsters lurking in the shadows. You may fear the monsters lurking in the places you believe that you cannot bear to see within you. But that’s why we have the candle. The monsters hurt us most when we look away. When we have the grace to bring them into the light and look at them eye-to-eye that we learn they become far less scary– and their power over us is diminished. The ones that we carry with us? Well, those we find are actually just begging to be understood.

As the light of a new day begins to touch the rocky landscape, we will begin to see that there are other sisters before us. They are telling us that this work, these steps, these tears– they are all worth it. We will begin to see that there are others of us closer than we ever expected. And we will know there will be other sisters that we will get to call back to and assure that we are there to hear their stories and our hands are ready to pull them up to our vantage point.

As you take inventory of what you are carrying with you and what you have begun to let go of, I must assure you, my friend, you are not a project. There will be no straight line to healing and wholeness. There is no “finish line” no “win”…

No, my friend, we are on a pilgrimage.

This pilgrimage is worth everything. We will make it with as much grace and peace and hope as we can muster. We will make it together.

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