Friday marked 20 months since we said goodbye to Olivia, our third daughter, our fourth and last child, thusfar. That might seem like a long time to most, but there are moments when it feels like it all happened not that long ago. Time is a good cure, but it does not heal all wounds. After much reflection on the subject, I've come to believe this one simple truth: healing is a choice.
Some physical wounds are shallow and nearly inconsequential, take a paper cut for example. It might hurt for a few seconds, but then you scarcely notice it even happened. Other wounds require more attention, but probably can be handled on your own, like a scraped knee. You wash it up, apply a little antiseptic and a bandage, and you're out riding your bike again in no time. Some injuries require professional help, like broken arms and deep lacerations needing stitches. And other situations, say a severe car accident, might need surgery, a hospital stay, and months of rehab.
I think emotional wounds are somewhat similar. Some are shallow and quickly forgotten. Others might require a little more attention. And still deeper wounds....need work and maybe even professional help.
I've often wondered why some people that I've encountered still seem truly bruised, battered, and broken, even years after their loss. Their personal pain appears raw and fresh. While others, although forever changed by their loss, seem to be working towards healing and reclaiming their joy. I remember feeling angry that after all I had endured, I had to actually work towards mending my heart and spirit. WHAT?! It just doesn't seem fair. But fair or not, I believe it is what is required.
One month after Olivia had died, I remember reading something that convicted me into making a distinct choice: I would focus on Christ instead of on my suffering. And it is a choice I have had to make again and again.
A choice to heal.
A choice to live.
A choice to find joy.
Praying for the choices you face,