Enola who is hosting April's Blog Carnival asks the question - what does "healed" look like to you? I have pondered this question. Here are some thoughts:
I am healed when...
1. I can think about my childhood and remember all the good and none of the bad.
2. I can think about my father and not feel angry or afraid. I can forgive him once and for all. And truly let go of all that has gone before.
3. I can read others' stories of their abuse and feel compassion for them and pray for them and try to help them, but they do not trigger any kind of flashbacks or old feelings that threaten to engulf me.
4. All of the long term effects of the abuse disappear. I have good boundaries, I do not need affirmation from others any more, I take good care of myself, I handle anger well, I am no longer depressed, I am no longer afraid of intimate relationships, I trust others easily, I do not have any guilt issues, I no longer feel the need to please everyone, I no longer feel the need to be perfect in every thing I do, ... so on and so on ...
5. When I think of the abuse, I feel no more pain.
I could go on and on but let's face it. This kind of outcome seems impossible. I have always believed that I will not not be completely healed this side of heaven. There are too many layers left to heal. Too many layers of pain. Every time I think I might be almost done with this healing stuff, well, guess what? Something zings me!
So I live on this roller coaster ride. I have good days and bad. I live with some quirks or idiosyncrasies that are my way of coping with the past and I forgive myself for them. I try to live in the moment, appreciating the happiness I have now, and try not to think of where that next zinger is going to come from. I try to do what I can to help other survivors and when I am in a bad place, I look for help from them.
And I live with hope. I believe in hope. It is the hope that comes from God. It is the hope that someday all will be good and God will wipe away the tears from my eyes. Whether it is this side of heaven, or the other side.
So, what does "healed" look like?
It looks like heaven.