holiday sentiments sound hollow as they ring in my ears so i wonder if it’s my hearing or my heart that’s defective. this means so much more than words on a greeting card and happy faces and pretty presents wrapped and morning fires charred. we’re told there’s christmas cheer somewhere in our hearts but no matter how deep we search we know it is a lost cause from the start. coloured lights wrap round and round and round the prickly pine tree and our thoughts go round and round and round our heads to the point of insanity. there’s supposed to be hope and we’re supposed to feel love and there’s this sense of warmth and happiness that we see everyone else has but not us. all their candles are lit but we are left with a thickly blackened taper pressed between our palms that will not open its mouth to lick a single bright cheery flame.
so we wonder, will wounded hearts always burn black or is there ever a way to get this joy back. how long must we wait before the promised healing or should we learn to be content with this life of quietly bleeding.
i think we’re fooled into believing that every day after restoration will be bliss because we live in incessant tunnel vision to the things around us and those before our eyes. we wait for healing to begin: to be healed, to feel healed. to be happy again. but the healing process has already begun. we’ve been in open heart surgery without even knowing it. we’ve been prodded by scalpels and stitched by surgeons and maybe that is where the hurt has been coming from. it’s the process of facing the past and reliving painful moments and correctly what can be changed and accepting what is there to stay. it’s a hell of a journey of forgiving all that we once screamed at to forget, everything we wished could be taken back and made untrue for once. and it takes time because it’s not something we’re going to be okay with today. but maybe tomorrow we’ll be a little more okay with it than yesterday.
what healing doesn’t mean is that we forget everything that happened or that we trivialize the pain that we felt or that we brush off the abuse that was done to us. healing isn’t packing away memories in a cardboard box labeled ‘do not open’ and shoving it onto a top closet shelf. healing means opening up old wounds that never healed quite right so we can medicate the cuts and pick bits of shrapnel left from the battle out. healing means looking back and crying because of how much it hurt and we know it will always still ache because of the scars it left behind. but healing also means looking back and smiling because those scars are scars and not open wounds anymore and because they mean that we survived.
holidays will still be hard but they will get easier as time goes on. we will never be the same children filled with innocence whose bright eyes shone with the untouched joy of christmas. but we are the battle-scarred veterans with worn smiles and a twinkle in our eyes as we tell the story we helped to write.