I consider myself to be a deep-waters kind of person. I feel things deeply, and I mull for very long periods. While I generally count this as a good thing, it can be a very uncomfortable quality when it relates to healing from hurt and loss. Other people seem to bounce back from certain grievous events quickly, but it takes me a long while to do the same.
I must admit that it bothers me.
Growing up, I learnt to pick myself up from falls, dust off quickly, and keep running. Yet, the more I learn about life, the more I understand that there are times where that line of thinking does not work. We are not robots. We are humans — made to feel, to grieve, to slow down, and to give space for true healing.
The most recent instance of slow healing for me relates to the ending of my marriage. Divorce can be exceptionally distressing and life-altering, irrespective of the causes or reasons. No wonder it ranks second on the list of top life-event stressors, only bested by the death of a spouse or loved one. For me, the breakup stretched over some years, first with separation (with hopes of reconciling) and finally with the formal process of divorce. I spent all those years running on hope, adrenaline, fumes, and high emotions such as fear and shame. I suffered physically and emotionally, as can be expected.
Oddly enough, I thought that finalizing the divorce would create a line in the sand for me and that I would instantly feel and be better. That did not happen, at least not in the way I naively hoped.
Instead, the last few years have been a different kind of hard.
There have been great gains for me, owing to mercy. I am so grateful for those gains. However, I am not anywhere near recovered from the impact of my marital breakup. My race towards healing looks more like a long-distance run and less like a sprint. In some areas of my life, I have advanced 100 steps forward. In others, I am at an impasse or on a slow crawl backward.
It’s humbling to realize that the healing is not going to be quick and that I may never again be that girl I was before this loss. Life is a journey. The twists and turns will not settle nicely into the pretty storybook I have in my head.
The one thing I promised myself during my separation and divorce was that I would work towards healing.
I will address things and not bury them. Although I did not know it at the time, I was committing to slow and steady work in my life. I need to be grateful for this process, too. We live in a time where we easily bury things and move on perhaps too quickly.
I consider my commitment to healing, no matter how slow that healing is, to be a gain. And I am grateful for it.