For the past few years, since 2009, I have chosen One Little Word for each year. In 2009 the word was "LOOK." In 2010 the word was "LOVED." And last year's word was "TRUST."
This year, my One Little Word is "HEAL." A friend told me after the earthquake that it takes three years to get over a major trauma like that. The first year is the year of grieving. The second is the year of remembrance. And the third is the year of healing. So far, this has been accurate. In 2010 I reeled. In 2011 I was in "a year ago today" mode. And this year, I'm ready to heal.
The thing is, you never get to heal completely before other wounds come along. I remember having constantly skinned knees as a child; no sooner would I get some fresh skin back and lose the scab than I'd fall again. I'm still just as clumsy, too; last week I fell while walking down stairs and taking pictures at the same time. Yeah, I guess I'm not as good at multitasking as I like to think. My knees are a mess and I broke my camera.
But I digress. My point was that healing has to be an ongoing process; we're constantly being bombarded with new injury.
"Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."
We lost a recent alumnus to a car accident on New Year's Eve and I hurt so much for his family, especially his mother, whose pain I can't even bring myself to imagine. She is healing from the earthquake still, just like I am, and she has other griefs in her life too, and now this. It's not like we can heal completely and then bask in glorious wholeness for the rest of our lives. It's all a process.
God is in the business of healing, though. He restores us, brings good out of what is nasty and awful and impossible in our lives, helps us slog through the nightmares and come out on the other side better. This year I want to celebrate the healing that God has already done in my life and in Haiti. And I want to watch for the signs of the ongoing process.
On New Year's Eve I sat at a party and listened to someone's earthquake story, one of the most amazing I've heard yet. I hope the teller will write a book. Here's something she said that resonated with me: the earthquake recalibrated us. We won't ever be entirely the same as we were before. Some of us have fears we didn't have before. Certain sounds and experiences are still not easy. Those are different for everyone, and I'm learning that I don't have to feel foolish, for example, for being freaked out by the rumble of an especially loud passing truck (that's exactly how the earthquake sounded when it began), even if nobody else is affected by it.
Hardest to accept is that some relationships were broken by the aftermath of the earthquake, and they will never be exactly the same again, even if healing happens. There are beautiful new relationships that have grown up, but I still grieve the lost ones, because people aren't interchangeable.
This year, I hope more of my wounds will turn into scars. Scars are there forever. As Dumbledore pointed out, they can even be useful, though I don't have one that's the shape of a map of the London underground, like he did. But over time the scars can be "less like scars and more like character."
One Little Word for 2012: HEAL. I can't do it myself, but God can do it.
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