Art by Norvz Austria
In my first post Reason for the Season, I mention that the most asked question is, "Why did this happen?", often leading people to the cliché everything happens for a reason. I'm sure it's not a big surprise that my second most asked question is, "How long will this take?" which can easily lead us to the cliché time heals all wounds.
I used to think having the answers to the above questions would relieve my clients of their pain. But if 9 years of helping people move through pain has taught me anything, it’s that the not knowing is a cultivator of change and healing.
Pain can be dense and heavy, leaving little confidence that we have control. In search for something that feels sure and definite, we may grab onto the cliché, “time heals all wounds” as time is as faithful to pass by as the sun is to rise.
It's human nature (and exactly what we're supposed to do!) to find the most comfortable space and sit there. So in the midst of the unknown and uncertain, time passing seemingly becomes the most comforting entity because 1) we don't know what else will heal us and 2) pain can be deceptive, convincing us we are helpless and time passing takes absolutely no effort of our own.
But time doesn’t heal wounds. In fact, holding onto the belief “time heals all wounds” is passive hope and idealistic thinking, creating more pain as you lose confidence that healing will ever come your way.
TRUTH: The time that passes while we are in pain is an opportunity, not a healer.
Grieving is the pain you feel from trauma or loss, mourning is the practical and hands-on process of walking through the pain. Time offers space to saturate our souls with healing processes that will go deep into the wound and truly heal us. These processes are deep and wide, and personal to your journey. While I advocate for many practices to heal (that would take a whole other post!) only you know what you need and time isn't it.
“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little.” Tori Amos
Here’s to loving your soul by letting go of the passive hope of time and embracing your courageous, action-filled process of healing.
From the couch to your soul,
It’s probably the number one question I’m asked from the couch.
Why did my mother die because of someone else’s stupidity on the road?
Why does my child have cancer?
Why did my wife leave me?
Why is my son a drug addict?
Why did my house burn down?
Why did my sister get murdered?
Why did my baby die?
It’s a legitimate question and human nature to want to have understanding for why “bad things happen to good people.”
When tragedy strikes, there is a desperate hope that if we know “why”, we’ll have something we can accept more easily than the pain and reality of the event.
Then there are the people. The people who love us and care about our well-being. Helplessly watching us tumble around in the tidal wave of pain. They don’t know what to say.
It’s awkward to sit next to pain and have no words.
Without knowing what to say, loved ones drift to the most common of beliefs. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”, “It was their time”, “God has someone better for you”…
“Everything happens for a reason.”
The intention is to comfort, the outcome is a deepened sense of frustration, grief and loneliness.
Truth: Everything happens because it happens.
The emotions rising up in you as you read this are likely the desire to lessen the pain of that statement. I get it. It feels so cold. Yet…
Reality is more kind than a story that feels like it has no clear conclusions. ~ Byron Katie
The cliché “everything happens for a reason” implies there is someone “up there” controlling the happenings on earth. Suggesting we have no control and just have to take what life hands us and deal with it.
You may be asking yourself, “then what’s the purpose of all this pain?” The beautiful and freeing answer is YOU GET TO CHOOSE! In the Bible, the scripture Romans 8:28 states that God “works in all things” indicating if we want to be open to meaning or a reason, it’s there for us.
Robert Brault said, “Sometimes in tragedy, we find our life’s purpose.” Healing from loss can be one of the most painful processes we ever go through, your choice to find purpose in that pain is often the journey of discovering depths and heights to life you never would have had you NOT faced the loss.
Next time you experience tragedy, remember the “reason” is not why it happened. Yet the journey to create meaning is often the path to deeper healing. The key is trusting the relationship between you and the God in you to create meaning together.
From the couch to your soul,
Anna is a soul~therapist whose "no-nonsense" writing captures and expands on the deeper moments of life. Everyone will benefit from posts on parenting to relationships to living your better life. Follow along and you'll gain insights into your own soul, quick-tips (Quips) about every life subject and along the way, you may just find yourself having a few laughs.
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