Time is not a healer

Recently I’ve been contemplating the many stages of healing I’ve passed through dealing with divorce and living a life that is nothing like I thought this stage of my life would be. My thoughts land each time on a different emotion or pain experienced over the years since the conversation that precipitated a whole new life for me.

There were many days when I wondered if I’d ever get to this good place, where I feel more healed than I ever thought possible. I used to be envious of others who have walked through divorce as well, whose healing from it were many steps ahead of me. But now, I’m getting there – years into this journey I finally feel like when I take deep breaths, it’s not bitterness and despair that I’m exhaling.

I’m no longer envious of those ahead of me on the journey. With years of the healing process behind me now, I approach the tunnel exit and the light is bright and welcoming. In contemplation of how I got here I see that there were tears and anger; loss and change. There’ve been soul-crushing lows and unforgettable highlights, none of which I ever imagined would be my experience.

Like that one vacation recently, where I was immersed in the beauty of God’s creation, hanging out with my husband, and showered by God’s promises concerning His plans for us. I felt many heavy chain links fall off of my heart, mind, and spirit.

Then, there’s all the counseling and therapy that I’ve sat through, the hard decisions I’ve made and stuck to, and the boundaries I’ve created for myself. Link after link have fallen off my chains through the years, and I’ve been aware of each one as I’ve left them behind.

There is somber gratitude as hope rises for a life free of looking back with longing. The settling within me is hopeful and exciting; and as I’ve contemplated all of this analytically I’ve come to (what I find to be) an astonishing conclusion that contradicts a common saying often accepted as truth, that time, in fact, does not heal all wounds.

“Time is an important factor, carrying us from moment to moment, giving us space to enjoy new things, people, and experiences, softening the hardness and allowing room for forgiveness and letting go; but time on its own cannot accomplish any of the healing we desperately need. “

Time is an important factor, carrying us from moment to moment, giving us space to enjoy new things, people, and experiences, softening the hardness and allowing room for forgiveness and letting go; but time on its own cannot accomplish any of the healing we desperately need.

I’m so grateful for time that carried me step by step away from what was, and into what is and can be; but it did not operate on its own. Time is a wave that, while it keeps moving, by its very essence, teams up with the hard work of taking the healing steps inside us, taking the steps that unfold before us, and keeping our eyes on the goal that we want to attain.

Time is one leg of the stool that is our healing, it isn’t the stool itself and can never bear the full brunt of healing our wounds. Time will be what it is no matter what we do with it. I’ve known people who have had decades to get over pain, but still live consumed by the thing that changed their lives. Time has done nothing for them, except to cement the pain and give it deep roots.

I’ve also known others who’ve jumped into the healing process quickly, but for whom enough time hasn’t passed. If we allow time to do its good work by just being true to its nature, it will beautifully complement all that other things we are doing to try to get better.

And there’s Jesus, who says to us, “Do you want to be well?” When our answer is “Yes!”, He leads us through the pain, and the maze of emotions. He is our navigator when the unexpected happens. He teaches us how to breathe deeply, ride the waves that would otherwise drown us, and thrive through it all.

And there’s Jesus, who says to us, “Do you want to be well?” When our answer is “Yes!”, He leads us through the pain, and the maze of emotions. He is our navigator when the unexpected happens repeatedly. He teaches us how to breathe deeply, ride the waves that would otherwise drown us, and thrive through it all.

As my thoughts wander back through the years and retrieve memories of long, dark nights, gut-wrenching sobs, being disappointed, disillusioned, and abandoned, it’s clear that Jesus was there with me in each memory, giving me the courage and the strength to take the next step, attend another therapy session, make use of the backbone I’d only recently discovered I had, and let time put even more distance between the pain and me.

You can do this: join time in the healing work to make you better- don’t waste, or take for granted, the gift that it is. Use it as you keep your eye on the prize of who and where you want to be. Time will do its good work as you make one choice after another to do the things that lead to your healing.

Before you know it, another year or two or ten will have gone by. The passage of that time may be exactly what you need to get you on the other side of whatever you’re walking through right now – but you’re the only one who can determine if it will be. Will time make you more angry and bitter, or, will you allow it to complement all the many good steps you’re taking so you can be healed and whole?

Ⓒ Debbie Mendoza, April 2022

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