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Once you have named the hurt and grieved its existence, you can stand up

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

I watched the first version of my story video a couple of days ago; a video of me sharing about my cult experience. Before clicking on the small play arrow, I set my mind on simply watching the footage the first time through, saving editing notes for subsequent viewings. This wasn’t hard to do, as I became lost in the imagery, the narrative, the piano, and the memories. I felt every scene and every word.

My heart hurt for hours afterwards. Hours that followed me into the next morning.

Earlier today, I watched it again when I shared it with a friend, who expressed her emotion in streaming tears. Again, my heart hurt.

A few hours ago, I had a call with the video production team to run through the editing plan, ensuring we were on the same page with the pending alterations. Clarifying and confirming understanding so that the truth of my story would be captured and presented as best as possible. I did not even watch it this time, and yet again, my heart hurt.

It has been two more meals and my heart is still hurting.

I have taken all the time needed over the past ten years to process and heal from the individual losses in my life, but there is something about seeing and hearing it all in 8 minutes that’ Fresh. Too much at once.

I’m not surprised by finding another layer to feel and acknowledge; I had expected the video production process for my story to be difficult. I have stumbled upon countless hidden minefields before, so I know how this goes. I know the tenderness of a newfound wound in need of care, like when I saw my friend’s record player ( I have learned the art of acceptance and allowing with love, all while knowing this place is temporary. I will not stay here in this pain, if I am patient and gentle with myself, as God is patient and gentle with me (1 Corinthians 13). Soon, I will lay this wound to rest beside the others, and grass will grow from its soil, providing a soft mound to freely dance upon.

For now, It’s okay to be here, right where I am.

I could choose to stay here forever, mourning my losses and immobilized by my hurt, but I won’t. I never have. This is a choice I continue to make, again and again, as I recommit to lifting my eyes upward and forward toward who I can be in Christ, remembering that from my suffering comes perseverance, then character, then hope (Romans 5:3-4). I have such a strong love for character development and gosh, the resulting hope is powerful.

I once believed there was hope, so I took that first turn onto a new road, literally, when I moved to Colorado from New York. I had never been to the state, but it was evident for me that it was the place to be, at least for a while. I created the space I so desperately needed between myself and the places of my upbringing, and my life was able to change along with my location.

Since making this transition, I no longer believe there is hope—I know there is hope. A hope fulfilled. A promise made. A life given for mine.

So, as I feel this ache in my heart, I will pause. I will listen to instrumental melodies while feeling the wind and finding God in the sunset through my backyard tree. I will reach for my childhood teddy bear, a familiar comfort from days long ago. I will take a little longer to respond to those text messages and be present with my pain, uninterrupted. I will take deep breaths, taking in all the oxygen I can to keep the fire burning inside of me. And when it’s time, when I have named the hurt and grieved its existence, expressing gratitude for its replacement, I will stand up.

I will stand up and continue moving.

Because there is more to feel, more to know, more to love, and more to say “thank you” for.

Candid Conversation:

  1. Has there been a time in your life when you were (or nearly were) immobilized by emotional or spiritual pain?

  2. Has there been a time in your life when you were filled with a hope that spurred you to action, to stand up or keep moving?

  3. When you’re hurting, what provides you with comfort? Both tangible and intangible.

    1. For example, my childhood teddy bear and seeing God in his sunset through my backyard tree.

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