Healing is a messy business. It’s gross and slow and at times tenuous and prone to error. It’s also miraculous, largely self-sufficient and autonomous, and a basic element of what it means to be alive. Without the ability to heal, we would all die of paper cuts and colds and stubbed toes.
During the healing process, there is a time when covering the wound is necessary and a time when uncovering the would is also necessary. Covering the wound protects it from negative influences that might cause infection and delay or thwart the healing process while uncovering the wound allows it to breathe and prevents festering. This marriage of protection and vulnerability is necessary for healing.
I’m realizing that the season I’m in these days is one of uncovering, of exposing, of revealing the woundedness that has been covered over and protected for too long in my deep, inner hidden places. That woundedness that has been silent (perhaps, silenced?) for so long is now making itself known in unhealthy ways because I have ignored it, leaking out of the broken places I have tried so hard to hide.
It is an unpleasant season, this time of uncovering. Full of uncomfortable emotions and surprising reactions that I thought myself beyond, I find myself once again in the same place I’ve been before, circling right back to the starting point–but not quite.
Because I have been here before.
It was my spiritual director who first introduced me to The Critical Journey and The Wall we must face on our Journey Inward. I was nearing the end of my seminary degree and found myself in an unfathomable season of pain and loss. And here I am again, years later, faced once more with the wounded places in myself.
Only, it’s not quite the same after all. This time, I bring with me into this season the knowledge and experience I gained from my last visit to this particular spot on my journey. I remember how–with the help of wise and patient people who so generously companioned me–I learned that I could not scale the wall, dig under it, or go around. I could only slowly and painstakingly begin to dismantle the wall, brick by brick, until I could make a way through.
Welcoming and Leaning In
The invitation in such seasons is one of courage to step out into the light and keep walking, vulnerable and exposed, trusting that something new and beautiful is waiting to be revealed. The invitation is to welcome the uncovering, to lean in with anticipation and expectation of what is about to happen.
As we submit to the uncovering, we create space for the healing that has begun in us to continue to its completion. Then, in that vulnerable moment, the true self begins to be revealed, to be birthed, to come into being. But first we must be willing to walk the hard path that leads us there, back and back again–footsteps upon footsteps–back to the place we started. Only this time changed, this time new, this time carrying with us all that we learned and experienced before.
So, what is being uncovered in you, my fellow pilgrims? How might you welcome it and lean into the healing you are being invited toward?