As I look back at this past year, I’m amazed that the mere passing of time can allow for such a difference in a person’s life. It’s not the passing of time that creates the change but rather the opportunity that time has to offer. Opportunity for a raw look at one’s life and what mess or beauty they’ve made of it up to a point. Time passes with no purpose of its own. It’s just time, the mere raising and setting of the sun, the ticking of a clock. But the gift of time is of far greater worth to those who use it wisely.
A year ago, my family was faced with the news of something that I never thought could possibly be a reality in our lives. It’s one of those things that you hear other families suffer through but think “that will never happen to my family”. Whether it’s a sense of denial of such evil existing in and around those you love most or maybe even a little bit of a self-righteous attitude that you and yours are untouchable by the Enemy, I don’t know; but what I do know is my family wouldn’t be standing on such firm, rock-solid ground today if our world wasn’t turned upside down a year ago.
When faced with news that makes your life seem more like the drama you’ve seen in a movie, you start to operate on autopilot in fear that even more of your life will be revealed to you as something it’s not and maybe something that it never was but only pretended to be.
And after living life as a robot for as long as you possibly can, you start to wish that things could go back to the way they were when things were “normal”. But then you’re faced with the raw reality that the normal you took for granted may never exist again and maybe your present circumstances are in fact what your new “normal” will be from here on out.
Even though it sounds cliché, the saying “time heals all wounds” does have some truth to it. As time passes, the distance from a hurtful, destructive past to one’s present time, can allow for some healing of past wounds. There have been many days where I’ve allowed myself to sit in silence, lengths at a time, to mull things over and try to make sense of past, present, and future circumstances. Those moments of silence have been beneficial to me and allowed for a break in the chaos I felt in and around me that was out of my control.
But of all the things I’ve come to better understand in my life from this past year, I’d say one of the most important things I’ve learned in regards to healing is that time in and of itself doesn’t provide lasting healing.
The healing that time provides is more superficial than it is transforming. But what we do with the time we’ve been given can allow for a true transformation at the very core of who we are.
For me, last year’s unsettling revelation that my family’s reputation could be drastically altered came to me at a time when I was already dealing with my own demons of self-destructive thoughts and trying desperately to break away from a past of depression and anxiety. To me, the painful news was somewhat welcoming. I could finally point my finger at someone(s) other than myself for my current state of suffering. Childhood memories became skewed to the point of me being the victim without the tools in life needing to succeed. Even in my denial of such an awful thing ever happening to my family, I was somewhat grateful for the news. It finally made sense to me why I struggled with some of the things I struggled with in my childhood and on into my adulthood.
But all this came at the expense of my family’s current state of sorrow. While I was dealing with my own demons, my family was dealing with much worse. I watched in a state of shock as my parents dealt with something much bigger than I ever thought they’d have to battle. Desperately, I tried to stay neutral and patch up wounds on either side, but it wasn’t my frail attempt at helping that brought my parents through to the other side.
Their Victory was won when they surrendered their lives to the only One who has enough compassion to understand every hurt and heal every wound.
But I can’t understate the gift that time has given my family this past year. I think it’s true that when faced with something life-altering, you are given a whole new appreciation for the gift of time with those you love. The amount of healing that has taken place in my family this past year astounds me. Not just in my parents. In myself, my siblings, as well as my extended family. I’ve seen relationships restored through intentionality. I’ve seen Joy in the Lord that never existed in my family until now. I’ve seen my parent’s relationship become what I always wished it would be growing up under their roof.
And my Lord has brought healing in my life as well. Satan’s vain attempts at destroying my perceptions of my childhood will not be won. And with God’s help, I am learning to lean on Him for the strength I need to pull myself out of self-destructive patterns. God is good. And He is Faithful. All this healing that God and the wonderful gift of time has given to me and my family is not to be taken lightly. I don’t think my family unit would be what it is today if our lives weren’t radically altered like they were a year ago.
Intentionality is not something to pursue for just a short time, but it is something that God calls us to live out on a daily basis.
And that, I can honestly say is why my family is stronger today than we ever have been before. Because out of the miry pit of despair, He lifted us out of our destruction; and He set our feet on a Rock, giving us a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:2).