The path of pain is the road of recovery. It seems quite unfair that after enduring hardships of epic proportion, this was what waited for me.
The best way to get to the other side of a mountain is to go over it. If you go around it, you’ll miss the stunning views from the top.
While he was alive, I wrote my father many letters through the years. In one of them, I tried to express the way in which he stripped me bare with his brutality. I wrote that he’d placed me at the bottom of Mount Everest, taken away my clothes, my shoes, gave me no bread or water and instructed me to climb to the top. Of course, his assumption was that I wouldn’t make it. This letter exclaimed to him that I had arrived at the top of that mountain. And, indeed, I had.
What I didn’t expect on the crags of this journey, was the intense pain that would topple me time and time again.
On one such precipice, circa 1968, my father is carrying me through the door of my grandmother’s house in a fully catatonic state. I’m 3 or 4 years old. Inconsolable, the decision was made to deliver me to her. I don’t remember exactly how long I stayed or the content of the days spent there, but I distinctly remember I ended up with my uncle. For a brief moment, I thought I was finally safe, but that illusion was quickly shattered when my father showed up again to collect me.
Later, in my 50s, I recalled with great agony the excruciating pain of being plucked away from my uncle. My time with him had been full of laughter and happiness. Instantly, the memory plunged me to the floor and I found myself pasted there, crying out in such despair it seemed that only the earth’s surface could comfort my pain.
I told my husband to find my phone and call my therapist. I felt physically paralyzed and couldn’t get off the ground. There have only been a few times I’ve had to call for help, and this memory was one of them. My counselor and I talked through the memory while I was incapacitated to the floor. At long last, I had released that little girl from the heartache of leaving love to return to a house of misery.
Take the exit onto the path. Make no mistake, healing is a precarious process. It is the crumbling away of untruth. It is seeing through the facade of pretense. The complete eradication of everything you imagined to be true. It is not an easy path, but it walks you out of prison.
8But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. 9I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”Ezekiel 3:8-9