“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I've learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can't be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.”
today, for the first time in 6 years, my brother, sister and i had lunch with my mom.
i write many personal things on here, but this is one that i have grieved privately, and will continue to remain guarded when i write about it. not because i'm embarrassed or ashamed or angry, because i feel none of those. i have achieved a peace i never thought possible. honestly, my quiet has been for several reasons; fear of damaging or hurting what fragile thread we still had between us, concern because there are delicate details of this story that are not mine to share, and also because i have continued to feel fiercely protective of all who have been involved in this painful, but miraculous process. i love my mom--much more than i can even comprehend at times, and regardless of where she and i are in our relationship. the protectiveness and quiet has also served a purpose, giving me room to heal inside of it, working through emotions within the walls of the bubble of silence and vagueness.
i have been stuck on the series i was writing, "swinging and bending," because this is where the story becomes tricky. i want to write honestly, owning and expressing only my piece, but it's interwoven so thickly with hers that i haven't been able to figure out a way to extract only what is mine. she used to read this blog, and regardless of whether she still does, i feel a need to continue down the journey of my healing and no one else's. so, i stay stuck for the time being, but i can sense it coming--working its way out, untangling the details so my side becomes that. just mine.
what i will say is this: the title of this series was chosen because during the time i have worked through our rocky relationship, i felt these things happening inside of me. the swinging pendulum began on one side, back when i was unaware i was the very definition of "codependence." it was what had been created from a childhood bursting with the belief that love for me was only conditional. once i saw myself as i had become, i was so terrified that i swung all the way over to the other side of codependence, shutting the doors of unhealthy relationships with a loud slam, without even glancing back. i convinced myself i was choosing a better way, a higher path, a thicker skin. but as the door slammed, my heart ached.
i was not built for absolutes--i think we try to convince ourselves we are, but i don't know if anyone is, really.
the pendulum had swung to the extreme opposite side, slammed with the intent to regain some sort of control, the control springing from fear, the fear creeping up from the depths of an inability to truly love myself, regardless of whether anyone else loved me. even my own mother.
the rejection i faced was so brutal and painful that it knocked the breath from me, yet i was the one who had caused it. i felt it in my chest--a confused chaos--and had to continually convince myself i was doing the right thing for the right reason. i used words like "toxic" and "unsafe" as justifications of my swinging pendulum.
i look back and see now how i needed this shut door in order to separate myself and heal from the damage that had been done. i also needed it in order to see my own unhealthy patterns, and change them. i didn't have the ability or emotional maturity at the time to change while still inside of this dynamic, so the shut door provided the room for that growth.
but, now that i have changed and am healing, i see that the pendulum does not have to be swung in extremes. instead of breaking under the weight of the pain someone else is carrying, i have learned how to bend, because i have found how to only carry my own. i have found the ability to fill up my own cup, without the need for outside resources aside from God. this is how my internal pendulum has found its balance to rest in the middle instead of drastically perched on one side or the other.
my belief is this: there are not really "safe" and "unsafe" people in this world. there is only our individual ability to take care of our own selves and spirits, regardless of where anyone else is at in life. it takes work, humility, grieving, and a lot of painful stretching, but it can be done.
this is just a piece of what i have found as Truth: love without fear, boundaries without breaking under another's pain or slamming doors to gain control, extending oneself to try again, forgiveness without grudges or resentment, and a peace that only comes from the inside out.
for me today, while sitting across a table and looking into the beautiful blue eyes of my mom, that peace presented itself within me again.