Baby Steps and Patience
Last May I injured my shoulder in a very non-epic kind of way. I was boogie boarding in the Gulf when a wave suddenly flipped me over my board and slammed my left shoulder through the shallow water into the packed sand. The following weeks and months were filled with ice and rest and pain. I cannot claim a serious injury, but it felt like it took forever to heal; and I was not sure of when I would be able to do much with my upper body. My pain was manifested in a feeling I had in my shoulder as well as some bruising and swelling. People saw my crash so I had witnesses (I am unsure of whether or not this is a good thing)… My kind friends and family validated the frustrations and annoyances I experienced as a result of my shoulder injury; they could see my physical pain.
As a counseling student, I am faced with dealing with a lot of pain, both in my own processing and in the lives of others. Sometimes the hardest part about watching others crash and burn is walking with them in their “physical” therapy.
Unfortunately, most often the heartaches and psychological pains people experience do not have physical manifestations, so it makes it difficult to know how to walk alongside someone in their hurt. We would never think to ask someone in a cast to do something outside of their capacity, but we are often unaware of how to handle someone in their heartache.
Physical therapy is a total b-word, and heart therapy is a pain as well. When we are physically wounded we often do not give ourselves the time to go through the motions of bed rest, crutches, walking slowly, walking quickly, and finally jogging or running. If it is not a super intense injury, a few stages are often skipped (I know this from personal experience, k). When I have a physical injury I know that I am usually quick to think I am far more healed than I actually am. We must be cautious of how we are treating our hearts as well when inner aches and pains occur.
I do not think there is a prescribed amount of time that is necessary for us to process the pain we experience, and it is imperative that we are aware of the individual work that must be done.
Dear friends, I am learning that one of the key ingredients to healing is patience. Have patience for yourself in this possibly painful season, healing takes time and scar tissue sticks around (a year later and this shoulder is still a little cranky).
Have patience with yourself and allow grace to flow and redeem the pain; the soul needs time to heal too.
p.s. Maybe you are not in a season that feels rough or that it necessitates intense "physical" therapy. There are probably people around you who need care and love, read this for them.
p.p.s. By "therapy" I do not necessarily mean counseling, one can experience healing through many different modes of therapy aside from psychotherapy.
Questions? Shoot me an email or leave a comment below.