The Hurting Place

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In Elaine Marshall’s talk Learning The Healer’s Art, she shares this story:

“My mother once told me of an experience she had one winter morning as she drove down to check the cattle in the lower pasture. She noticed a car off the side of the road. Inside she recognized a young mother and three children. When my mother asked if they needed help, the woman tearfully reminded her that this was the place of the accident two weeks earlier that had killed her husband. She answered, ‘We are just here to feel the hurt.'”

This story has always stuck with me and so a few months ago I chose a place to go to “feel the hurt.”

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This is it. It is a lovely little memorial near my home to honor veterans of all the branches of the military. I come here often. I pray and I ponder. I sit and I cry. A few times the hurt was so overwhelming that I have fallen to my knees and weeped that loud, painful cry that comes from the center of the soul. I like it here. To me it is peaceful. It is safe.

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“Healing is active—you have to be there. Your friend or your husband or wife or your mother cannot do it for you. You have to face the problem and the pain. To begin healing, you must acknowledge and feel the hurt. Only those who don’t feel, those without conscience, cannot heal.”

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“I assumed cure, care, and healing to be synonymous. I have learned they are not the same. Healing is not cure. Cure is clean, quick, and done—often under anesthesia. The antibiotic kills the pathogen; the scalpel cuts out the malignancy; the medication resolves the distorted chemistry. Healing, however, is often a lifelong process of recovery and growth in spite of, maybe because of, enduring physical, emotional, or spiritual assault. It requires time. We may pray for cure when we really need healing. Whether for cell reconstruction, for nerve and muscle rehabilitation, for emotional recovery, or for spiritual forgiveness, healing needs work and time and energy. Healing cannot happen in a surgical suite where the pain is only a sleepy memory. Cure is passive, as you submit your body to the practitioner. Healing is active. It requires all the energy of your entire being. You have to be there, fully awake, aware, and participating when it happens.”

Dear Veterans, thank you. I cannot even begin to understand the many sacrifices you have made to serve our country. I respect you. I honor you. I love you. Thank you. I want to be here for you. I will be your Brotherhood.

Below is a great video about the importance of and how to ask Veterans about their service. Please take the time to watch. And more importantly, take the time to be there. Keep kind and carry on. xoxo

If you struggle with PTSD please scroll up to the top of the page and click “Find Help Here.”

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It Can Happen

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“Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” –Steel Magnolias

Some moments my healing comes through tears and others through my laughter. Some moments my healing comes through cursing. Healing is hardly ever pretty. Healing is messy and often unpredictable. But healing is also divine. And in its own way, a precious miracle. Heavenly Healing provides restoration and a renewal of the heart, a lifting of the soul. Heavenly healing is a gift through the grace of God and a fruit of the Atonement of Christ. I cannot tell you how long your healing will take or what it will look like. What I can tell you is that it can happen. Healing happens. Healing is real because Christ is real. Because He lives. And not only does He live but He loves. The love of Christ is big. It is perfect and perfecting. Christ’s love offers restoration, redemption and renewal to the wounded soul.

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Have you seen the preview for that movie Wild? Based off the book based off that woman’s true life story. Anyway, it got me thinking. Why?

Why, when we go through break-ups, heartaches, when we experience great loss do we do “crazy” things? Big things, extreme things…different things?

For me, it is to feel alive. Again. I want to feel alive again because the last time I felt alive was with him. That is why I jumped out of an airplane. That is why I went platinum blonde. It’s why I run races now. And 20 to 30 miles a week. It is why I dyed my hair back to deep red and then chopped it all off. Why I got a dog. Why I want to move to Iceland. Why I want blue hair and a tattoo. Why I want to quit every thing and drive away. Why I want to stay right where I am at. Why I let myself cry that big, full, deep cry every. day. every day. Why I choose healing.

I don’t need My Guy On A Buffalo to feel alive. I can feel alive on my own. But, oh, what a beautiful alive we were together.

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My Enemy/My Friend

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Yesterday while siting in a cozy room, my therapist expressed his empathy with me over my heartache.  He acknowledged that many will not try to understand why I choose not to go into Boulder anymore or have to turn the radio off when a certain song begins to play or a hundred million other things.  That no one , if any, will fully understand my heartache.  And he is right.  But what he was describing was not my heartache.  He was describing what others see as my response to heartache.

You see, Heartache is alive inside of me.  It is a living creature that breathes and moves. Heartache has its own heartbeat that beats wild and slow.  I will never fully understand my own Heartache. In many ways Heartache is lovely. It leads to beautiful words on the page and melodies that float in the air. It prompts strength to be born where it was once barren. Heartache’s counterparts are Grace and Resilience. But Heartache and I are not friends. It is not responsible for the Lovely. The loveliness of Bereavity and my friend, Grief, do not come because of Heartache but in spite of it. The Lovely is what I decide to bring to the table. The Lovely is when I show up.

My Heartache is constantly hurting me, causing me pain. It squeezes my throat tight, choking me so my cry cannot escape. Heartache runs fast in my blood. It scratches at the walls of my veins as if trying to get out. Heartache plays cruel games in my brain, having me think one thing in this moment and something completely different in the next. It spins circles in my stomach making it impossible to keep anything down. And my Heartache sits so heavy in my lungs that it hurts to breathe.

And it’s heart beats inside the center of my heart. In every quiet moment, Heartache is there, resting, burrowing and settling deep into the ever disappearing soft parts of my heart.

Heartache is not a sickness that needs hospitalized or medicated. It is not a ghost in the night that calls for exorcism. No, Heartache is a soul. Attached to this soul is every memory, good and bad. Every touch, every fear, every hope and dream. A life with My Guy on a Buffalo. I am not sure how to make peace with Heartache.  Intuitively, it feels that is something I should do. All I know is it needs to be loved, this Heartache of mine. Because it lives inside of me. It goes with me everyday and lies down with me at night. It whispers painful truths to me even when I rather be told lies. Heartache forces me to find a new way to live, to adapt to my love and my loss. It inspires me to hold out my hand to my sister and to my brother whom she lives with too. To keep them company in its presence. That my sisters and my brothers might know that they are not on their own. That although experience is different, often times emotions are the same.

Heartache, I did not invite you and do not wish your company upon anyone. And I really, really hate you right now.  But I really, really need you right now too. I beg you, stay with me. Don’t leave. For when you leave…he does too.

In the Pit of My Stomach

In the pit of my stomach, in the center of my heart.  In every thought in my mind.  It makes my brain come alive.

You know that feeling.  It courses all through your body.

Triggered.  A mix of scary, excitement, feeling.

A reminder of loss.  Reliving the hurt.  All the things he said.  But also all the good. There is still hope inside of me.

It is as if I am slowly dying.

Everyone tells me it gets better.  But in moments like these there is no better.  Only love with no place to go. Except to the pit of my stomach, to the center of my heart.  To every thought in my mind making my brain come alive.

I will probably be out of commission for a few days.  Breathing.  Taking my time.  Grieving.  Passing through every stage.  Again.

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This is my favorite necklace.  My mom bought it for me when we were in Park City this past April.  I always think how My guy on a buffalo could probably tell me what kind of rock it is,