And though I know that lie is tired, it doesn’t stop my heart from becoming exhausted when I hear it again.
Vulnerability has rescued me; and yet, it feels like an all too familiar imprisonment choking me back to death. It grips me in my openness and stifles my freedom. I hold my scars up as a sign of strength and while that tissue covers the wound, it can’t deny the truth. The birthplace of healing is also the birthplace of pain and one can’t exist without the other.
The courage to be real, to be vulnerable, to be seen—that level of bravery feels as though it should come with a reward. But depending on the presentation, instead of a glowing prize, all it seems to provide is a hollow souvenir. Some meaningless memento to carry in my body with the sloppy engraving, “For all your naivety and brokenness, here’s a keepsake for your pain. Keep it to yourself.”
I know better than this. I know that hollow ache is no longer where I live. I know the past served a purpose and my wholeness is who I am. That knowledge, however, doesn’t stop me from questioning it as soon as someone else does.
I have learned over and over that despite the broken rage that rises up within me anytime my shame speaks, this is part of the journey. This is where the healing comes. This is how the healing stays.
I don’t have to be comfortable to be whole. I don’t have to hide to be healed. I don’t have to lie to be loved.
The truth is that not all truth is pretty. Not all truth is welcomed. But truth is necessary in the journey of wholeness. Truth is, in fact, the only path to that destination; and truth must be told no matter how ugly it is.
Pain is a price tag on the keepsake of our life; and although I paid too much for that old hollow token, it helped me heal. Shame says, “Stay broken.” Truth says, “Get up and claim your wholeness.”
So today I choose to stand. I stand on my own, and I stand next to the one who chooses to stand with me. He runs his fingers over my broken places and even if its sharp, he doesn’t run.
He doesn’t run and I don’t apologize.
We sit in the pain together. We face the discomfort provided by the vibrations of the past and wade our way back to solid ground. That’s the true victory. That’s the reward. The ability to feel shattered once again and rather than being devoured by it, we crawl inside of it and heal again.
That’s a worthy souvenir.