When the path to ‘whole’ takes an unexpected turn

I will confess to having high expectations and a buoyant hope when I began the year focusing on the word “whole.” ow_whole

After all, it sounds so good, this idea that after years and years of feeling broken and worn down that maybe this would be the year some of those things could be mended and repaired, that the areas I’ve felt were lacking would somehow find completion.

We are one month into the year, and I am now discovering that this journey to becoming whole is going to be a lot harder than I thought. And sometimes it feels like this:

Why wasn’t she ready to fully release all the pent-up sorrow and pain? Because she feared if she fully acknowledged what she’d been holding inside for so long, it would overwhelm her, flood her, and she’d break. She wasn’t strong enough. She was getting by, but healing took work, courage, strength she didn’t have. — Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey, p. 166

But, I’m also discovering that just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, it might make it that much better than if it were easy.

Tom Butler | Creative Commons | via unsplash

Tom Butler | Creative Commons | via unsplash

I still have hopes for transformation this year. I’m taking positive steps toward wholeness, like counseling and medication and acknowledging my needs and grieving losses. But on the way forward, I’m finding that I have to look back. And sometimes in looking back, old hurts resurface, and wounds I thought were healed prove that they were only temporarily numbed.

As I’ve sought “whole” I’ve stumbled onto a lot of “broken.” And I’m seeing that this will be the first step in my healing–to break again. Not as a consequence of poor decisions but as an act of healing.

Sometimes on the road to healing, you must reopen an old wound. It will hurt again, maybe as much as or more than it did when it was first inflicted, but as you reconnect with and embrace the healing process, it will begin to hurt less. … That’s the only way it can heal. — Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, p. 318

For the deepest wounds I’ve suffered, I realize I’ve merely done the barest amount of work to survive. I thought I had healed, but I only covered them up. Like a broken bone improperly set, I haven’t healed the right way and so I must break again so that I can restore full function to the broken parts.

It’s terrible. Sometimes.

It hurts. But it’s not pointless.

And though it’s early in the process I can already feel the difference in the healing.

I covered over my hurts, my heart, my feelings which kept the bad things from hurting but also held some of them in. And it kept the good things from penetrating the barrier.

Sometimes, when you’re broken, light shines through the cracks. And the pieces you thought were holding you together get rearranged to make something else.

I was so moved by this song and video when a friend blogged about this idea of being shattered. I might have to add it to my list of theme music for the year. I’m also now totally obsessed with this violinist.


My pain and sorrows have festered in the darkness, and it’s time to let the light in.

But light hurts sometimes, too. When you’ve been in darkness, light has a way of shocking your sense of sight. Blinding almost.

It’s the same with the kind of light that penetrates the darkness in your soul. One of the hardest things about my therapy sessions is when my counselor says life-affirming things to me. Things like “You are strong and brave” and “You are worth it.”

Those words sneak through the cracks and light up the darkness and even when I try to push them away, they settle in. And push the cracks open a little more.

I’m no gardener so I don’t know what kinds of things thrive in the darkness, but I know that my heart is not one of them.

Leon Ephraïm | Creative Commons | via unsplash

Leon Ephraïm | Creative Commons | via unsplash

I need light.

And sometimes the light needs an opening.

And sometimes the opening has to come through a crack or a break.

Falling, breaking, failing–it all used to scare me because I thought it meant the end.

But I think that’s wrong.

More often than not, the breaking is just the beginning.

Are you pursuing a OneWord this year? How have you seen it working in your life?

For more information on the OneWord365 movement, visit oneword365.com.

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4 thoughts on “When the path to ‘whole’ takes an unexpected turn

  1. Thanks for reading my blog and for watching the Lindsey Stirling video. We just adore her. I appreciate your link back to my post too.

    I love this quote of yours: “But, I’m also discovering that just because something is difficult doesn’t mean it’s bad.”

    Great post. Stay strong!

  2. I choose joy as my one word this year. I don’t write and I’m not a blogger, but I have noticed that focusing on joy, or enjoyment, of the little moments has been helping. I tend to get bogged down in the day-to-day and not relax and enjoy time with my family much. I am still trying to get things done, but I also give myself 30 minutes every night to just enjoy my family. Some nights its the whole family, some night I focus on one kid. Some nights its 15 minutes with two of them. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you work full time and have three kids, 15 minutes is all you have some days! It’s helping, and think the kids are enjoying it too, without understanding that I’ve made a change. Of course, as I write this (at work) my sink is full of dishes, but hey, we do what we can!

  3. Pingback: What if we’re made to break? | Living Echoes

  4. Pingback: The ‘whole’ truth {a stop in the #OneWord365 journey} | Living Echoes

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