Wednesday, November 10, 2010
A Time for Healing
"To everything—turn, turn, turn—there is a season—turn, turn, turn…" Yes, there is an actual Bible verse that is much deeper than this, but this is what is spinning around and around and around in my head, so I'm sharing it with you.
There is a buzz word in Christian circles right now that has also been on my mind lately: transparency. Transparency is a good thing. I think for a while, we as Christians had a tendency to hide our struggles, meaning both our toils with sin and just the hardships we encountered in life. We may have felt that being honest about those things might be a show of weakness or might make people think that we didn't have true faith. In reality, reluctance to be genuine with others often results in loneliness, hurt, and shallow relationships, just to name a few. So the idea that we need to be transparent in our relationships, that we should bear each others' burdens and be open with each other, is freeing and healthy. Sharing our pain and what we are going through not only helps the "talker," but can let the listener(s) know that other people go through hard things too and that we are not alone.
For me, though, transparency has led to a different kind of struggle. After seeing how isolated I became when I was reluctant to share my struggles with depression, I have become a big advocate of sharing our needs and hurts with others. Now, though, I'm realizing that there is a time to feel your pain, to let it hurt, to cry over it and be sad or angry or however you feel… and there is a time to let it heal.
And guess what? We are healing. It's getting better, easier. The tears come less often, the smiles more. It's not a big giant elephant in the room every time I run into someone who asks me how the baby is doing, and I wonder, "Do they know? I don't remember telling them. Did they hear from someone else? Or are they just asking a polite question about a new baby?" Roo has Down syndrome. It's OK. And do you know what else? Sometimes (actually, a lot of the time), we're not even thinking about the fact that Roo has Down syndrome. We are simply living our lives.
And yet often, when someone actually does specifically ask me about Roo and the Down syndrome and how we're all doing… I feel the need to pick at the newly-forming scab and let it bleed all over again. There's a part of me that feels I'm not being genuine—not being transparent—if I just smile and say we're doing fine. It's like I broke my arm and feel the need to take off the cast and squeeze the broken bones when someone asks how I'm doing, like I'm afraid they won't believe the hurt is real if they don't see it for themselves.
But the hurt is real, and a cast or stitches or a scab are as much evidence of someone's pain as the injury itself. And as far as being transparent goes, people need to see us coping and healing as much as they need to know about our pain. It's important to know that others have struggles, but it's equally important to see them moving through it, not just living in it. Pain often brings growth, but that growth comes as a result of how we deal with the pain, not just because we feel the pain.
So I'm giving myself permission to tell you, the next time that I see you, that we're doing great. I haven't said that in a long, long time. I have been afraid to say anything better than "OK." But a lot of days, we are doing great. Roo has Down syndrome, and it's been hard. But we're healing from the hurt, and life hasn't stopped. He is a cute and sweet and wonderful baby. Monkey is a hilarious and sensitive little boy who makes me laugh every day, sometimes in spite of myself. Lamb is headstrong yet very sensitive when it comes to her friends, just like her momma, and she loves to sing and make crafts and her abilities astound me. And we're having a fun fall and we're getting excited for the holidays and we're… doing great. And that's OK. Because God doesn't want us to hide our pain, but He doesn't want us to hide our happiness either.