Pain is one of those human experiences that is universally feared and avoided. Yet I have never met a human who has successfully dodged any kind of pain – physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. I know I have experienced all four, and my response has been anything but gracious. Instead, in my pain, I am far more likely to hurt someone else – whether or not I realize it.
Healing, by its very nature, requires feeling the hurt.
So there is a very fine balance between accepting enough of the hurt to heal and feeling so overwhelmed by the pain that I lash out or withdraw, thereby causing pain to someone else.
I have tipped the scales multiple times in both directions over the past several years. Though it is never my intent to hurt another, it is nearly impossible for my wounds to scab over without someone else feeling the heat of my emotions. Thus, in chronicling my own journey of healing, I enter a treacherous land, where offense may be given or taken inadvertently and in my own quest to become whole I take the holes of others into my hands. There is no exact science to guide me here: “Do this, but don’t do that.” I am flawed and fallible and often do not know my own strength. Though I journal almost constantly, it is only in front of a wider audience that I am forced to make my thoughts coherent (and thus concrete). How then can I seek healing without causing more hurt?
Last summer, I found Lucy Maud Montgomery had put into words what I wanted to achieve. Emily Byrd Starr is Montgomery’s heroine with whom I most closely identify, and in Emily Climbs I found words strung together that opened the windows of Faërie to me. Here is what Emily says about writing and healing: “It is better to heal than to hurt… But here and now I record this vow, most solemnly, in my diary: My pen shall heal, not hurt” (p. 22).
That is my desire. That is my goal in writing: to heal, not hurt. It has taken time — time and grace and love and mercy — to get to this place. I want more than anything to share that grace and love and mercy with others.