How Healing Happens
Letting Others into the Hurt
By Robin W. Pearson
When Hubby has something to say, he says it. He doesn’t believe in toting around his hurt feelings like a turtle bears its shell, burrowing inside to hold his tongue or hide his thoughts. He doesn’t wound with his words, but the weight of them often pressures me into sharing what I haven’t sifted through and muttering an “I’m sorry” or an “I forgive you” that starts in my head and ends nowhere near my heart.
I do admire his forthrightness, his boldly going where my tongue dares not go. All my peeps can tell when my feelings are really hurt—generally, by the words I don’t say. The heat of my anger, disappointment, and frustration can cause the temperature in my house to plummet nearly twenty-five degrees. More during the wintertime. I’ve reconciled this silence by calling it my “process”—the time I take to self-evaluate and self-edit to whip my mind and my mouth into obedience. At least that’s what I’ve told myself and the people I’ve refused to talk to.
Now, if I follow the world’s line of thinking, I’d point all five fingers to our pasts and blame “learned behavior” for our present choices and actions. While my daddy and mama love without restraint, dispensing hugs and kisses like candy from a parade float, they can turn home into a chilly, silent place when an internal storm brews. They’ve been known to go a week without speaking to each other until Sunday dinner melts the ice between their lips.
And on the other side of the family table sit Hubby’s folks, who love just as hard and deeply as my own parents. My in-laws don’t spew emotions and ooze advice long after their initial outburst, like volcanoes, or reveal only a little of what’s floating underneath, like icebergs. They’re more like your favorite two-liter sodas that have rocked and rolled around the floor of the car. Once uncapped, they’ll likely spray anyone who doesn’t get out of the way. But when all is said and done, it’s just that.
So needless to say, Hubby and I have brought along a bit of life-size baggage on our wonderful marriage adventure, and we’ve had to unpack and stow our emotional “belongings” just so. To let the other in without shutting the other out. To talk a lot more while the other . . . well, talks a little less. To redeem healing from the hurt.
Acknowledging the (Holy) Ghost Writer
We do carry our own family history, complete with its blessings and burdens. It seems I inherited an invisible “gene” for stewing, as well as procrastination, sarcasm, hugs, and a love for all things cheesy. Yet, my heavenly Father designed me with unique thoughts and feelings—and a manner of communicating them. In order to take up my cross daily—and not become the one someone else must bear—this “fearfully and wonderfully made” child had to accept responsibility for my own choices and use my writing powers for good . . . and God (Psalm 139:14).
Editing the Story
Truth: A “cooling-off period” doesn’t give me time to think before I speak. It merely helps me gather more wood to stoke fires yet smoldering. Instead of building up my arsenal of silence and wielding it, I record my prayers, feelings, and memories in journals, type them on my laptop, and jot them down on notepads. Reading the hurt in black and white takes some of the sting out of the pain and helps me see many injuries are either self-inflicted or at least, not life-threatening.
Once I see myself and my role in events and relationships more clearly, I recover more quickly from conflict. I sincerely extend and accept forgiveness. I see that what was doesn’t have to be.
Telling the Tale
What’s a story without an audience? Sometimes my written prayers and pleas are meant for One—for God’s ears and eyes only. At first. He, in turn, enables me to open up to Hubby and the little people, flesh of my flesh, and uncover those hurt places I’d bandaged with a smile.
Then I’m often led to set my sights on the million after the One. In my blog, Mommy, Concentrated, I write about my daily walk as a freelancing homeschooler. I work through the whys, whos, and hows that help me interpret and apply His life lessons. I intermingled lore and life in my debut, A Long Time Comin’, a work of fiction that reveals many truths about faith in God and the impact of long-buried memories. My book and my blog let others into how I’ve been hurt and helped, providing encouragement and comfort as I’ve been comforted (2 Corinthians 1:4).
Telling the tale is how I “let the works I’ve done speak for me” as my church mothers sang. It’s my way of acknowledging the Author of my life’s story and why I’m continually reviewing and editing, for I know that what was doesn’t have to be. How do you invite others to come alongside, whether to wail or to whoop for joy? Use your words, whether they’re written or spoken—or written, then spoken. Let them speak life and healing.
A Long Time Comin'
A Long Time Comin'
About the Author
Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots and her love of her husband and seven children. Both lend authenticity to her debut novel, A Long Time Comin’. After graduating from Wake Forest University, she has corrected grammar up and down the East Coast in her career as an editor and writer that started with Houghton Mifflin Company twenty-five years ago. Since then she has freelanced with magazines, parenting journals, textbooks, and homeschooling resources. Follow her on her blog, Mommy, Concentrated, where she shares her adventures in faith, family, and freelancing.