BY GILBERT GARCIA
I was expecting emotional healing to be sort of a straight-up, maybe linear process, and that it should probably have a timeframe, with milestones to aim for. I'm not sure where the these ideas came from, but I do know that I was wrong. I even judged myself and others harshly by this weird process that I was using as a measurement filter in my life.
Today, I feel that I'm starting to see the results of the healing work I've been working on, and that it is a process that applies to all human beings. I know it sounds like a no-brainer but, having said that, it is a process that moves like the ebb and flow of the sea. It is life-retrieving. The healing process of pain cycles into an unpredictable ebb and flow, from pain to healing and then back to another buried pain that needs to be healed. Except that only God knows each and every wave coming at me. And He watches over me lovingly.
Sometimes in this process a wound resurfaces that I thought had healed, but it isn't as hard to deal with now, because to a degree, it had already been dealt with, but not completely. God, in this ebb and flow, knows what pieces tie together from the second go-around to help me heal, signaling that maybe that wound had to resurface as part of the flow that will help the next wound heal as well. I'm recognizing that moment in the cycle, the transition between healing and the moment right before the next pain starts to be worked on. I'm recognizing that ebb and flow in my process.
There are moments, however, when it looks like I'm stuck in a loop within that ebb and flow, not getting what is going on. I ask myself, "Why is this happening again? I thought it had all been dealt with. That is the point where two things can happen. The first is that I recognize the pain I'm dealing with, and it ebbs and peacefully flows into healing. Most times, that pain comes from a wound I had already started dealing with. Other times, they come from wounds that I'm more open to start work on, because they might not be as painful to get over.
The second thing that can happen can be best described with the image of angry dog chasing its own tail, except that the tail is not my own, belonging instead to someone else who I believe is attacking or annoying me. This is the place where I get stuck within the ebbing a flowing, a loop where sometimes I can remain stuck as it takes me nowhere fast. It's at this point where the healing cycle appears to slow down to a crawl.
This loop is the place I didn't know existed until I came to Hope 4 Life. It is so difficult to recognize this place that exists between pain and healing. I know for sure that I couldn't see it, even though it was glaringly obvious in what was happening to those progressively healing, while to those not healing it just looked like I was an angry, mean and judgmental person, endlessly chasing my tail.
William Paul Young, author of the Shack, said that "A sign of a healthy family is that it moves at the speed of the slowest." Hope4Life moves at the slowest pace of a person's healing process. No other place that I've been to does this. Because of this way of moving through healing, Hope4Life sets up a safe place for me and everyone else to wallow in their loop, until they are ready to move on, being loved and supported throughout the healing journey. It has taken this community of men and women at Hope4Life to help me see those moments where I'm "stuck in the loop," and I'm grateful for this. The life-giving value of the wisdom and love that I am receiving here is immeasurable.
I am encouraged that by being very real and honest about myself, by putting in the work for my healing, by allowing someone else to speak into my life, and by trying something different that maybe seems foreign at first —but has proven results—, I truly know that I and anyone else can find their way out of the loop.
Gilbert Garcia Romans 12:2 & 10-13