"Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity." - Hippocrates
"Courage in the face of great peril Leads to greater courage Cowardice in the face of great peril Leads to either continued cowardice Or greater resolve to be courageous Thus even the weak of spirit May develop a courageous heart If they but cling to the hope Of becoming more than they are." - Mark Hutchinson
What does it really mean to recover from an injury or tragedy or other difficulty? Everyone suffers in some way or another during their lifetime. Some recover quickly and continue on. However, for some, it seems as if the process of recovery didn’t even start and they are stuck somehow. Do you know anyone that fits that description?
I met a man yesterday and I wondered what sorts of hardships and hurts had taken him down to where he was. His watery, blue eyes were tired from decades of pain and he struggled to remain in control of himself while we spoke. I asked about his story and how he came to be here, barely able to sit, hunched over and yet trying to connect with others. I helped him get a cup of water. He couldn’t really even summarize how life had brought him to this point and apologized for that failure repeatedly.
As my family and I left Robert sitting there in that roadside Dairy Queen, I wondered what healing and recovery would even look like for him.
I discussed the mysteries of Robert’s past, present and future with my daughter realizing only that the questions far outnumbered the answers we had available. Yet we all agreed that we liked him and we hoped for the best for his future.
Healing and recovery.
We have to recognize that things will never be as they once were. If we strive for the idea that recovering is to restore the past, then it will never come. Hippocrates' quote above is so important in that it simply tells us that time is an essential part of the healing process, but not the only way forward. Sometimes opportunities arise that let a stalled healing process start to move forward in a new direction. Those that fight against time’s healing and rail against any opportunities for new perspectives often feel stuck and suffer unnecessarily. I’ve met a few people in my life that will probably never recover from the hurts they have suffered. What little energy they have is focused on trying to return to a place that cannot be. I always wonder what it would take to spark a recovery in such a person.
What would recovery really mean for a person like Robert? What would that look like? Despite his years in the army, a few years in prison, tragedies of family, addiction, and any number of other untold traumas, he still wanted to find a way forward, a better life.
The smallest step forward is still part of a recovery. To what end? We don’t know. But going backwards will not lead us to healing. The step that is in front of you, the opportunity you have, the small improvement that can be made is where to start. Where you end up will not be where you started, but it certainly can be better than where you are today. Just a little different.
I think Robert will get there.
Do you have something that needs to heal?
Find an opportunity to start that process this week or be that opportunity for someone else!