Tag Archives: Healing

Why I Stopped Writing

For four years I wrote.

Cried.

Bled my heart out in red-inked words handwritten on pads of pristine white-lined paper.

Searched for my story as I fingered letters on my keyboard, and prayed a melody would emerge from the chaos of my life.

I wrestled with my story, my words, myself.

I fought. I faltered. I failed.

“All writing is prayer,” said the wise and witty Anne Lamott.20121206_155310

For years I felt my prayers went unanswered.

The pain. Would not. Go away.

Then ever so slowly, it began to ebb. I kept writing, but no instant miracle came. It was one agonizingly plodding word after another—like climbing the very last, steepest section of a mountain. Exhausted, barely breathing in the thin air, and only able to focus on the ground beneath my feet . . .

When I started to catch glimpses of healing, I became more afraid of the life that lay ahead than the pain I was living in. I knew my pain so well, and found a deep intimacy with my creator within the pain. As crazy as it sounds, I struggled to embrace the healing changes.

But I couldn’t stop what I had put in motion. What started as a desire to find some validation for my insecure, “I’m never good enough” writer self became, sometime in the process, less about a story for others to read and more about writing for the redemption of the deepest, most holy, and sacred sufferings of my life.

Words that flowed like a flood for years gradually ebbed over time to become puddles of less and less tears.

One day in my writing the sun came out. Full in my face sun. Sun that woke me to the beauty of what my life could be beyond the pain, and beyond my writing about it.

I stopped writing and went outside in the sun to play. And I’ve had no pain for the last six months.

NO. PAIN.

I honestly never imagined in those four years of agony that it would be possible.

Sometimes miracles happen in slow-motion.

In slow, very slow, writing. In slow tears, slow prayers, and slow-to-come joys.

Now, every day, I’m slowly living again.

Sacred, holy, beautiful, joyful, messy, imperfect, failure-filled, redemptive, miraculous living. Authored by the one who took all the words I wrote and rewrote each and every one–in red–redemption red.

With slow dripping . . . His lifeblood, poured out–A greater love had no one than this. 

Now your drink offering (Phil 2:14!) sacrificed to be set free,

and to set free those captive with you,

bound in this covenant to the One whose red words cover, purify and save.

The world,

Drawn to communion,  by His radiant red life,

Bright and bonded, pooling spirit, split and covenanted, dead to all else,

and held within this terrible beauty,

Of his holy blood.

Dear beautiful friend, fellow story-liver, slow writer, tear puddler, pain and shame sufferer, and messy, joyful, abundant life seeker —

Please write your story. Even if no one ever reads it.

Because who you really are—healed and whole-hearted and living in the sacred space of you—must be given to you.

Sometimes it’s a slow, holy process, but exploring the darkness to discover the light is so worth it.

Coloring Life Beautiful on PInterest“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown

Dare, brave ones. I’m praying for you–for the courage to own your story, to embrace slow writing and slow healing as you allow every word of your beautiful, messy, imperfectly perfect, painful yet glorious, story to be rewritten. In red.

I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful life becomes in the slowly dawning light.  🙂

Linda Crawford

hike
My first mountain hike in 4 years with a dear friend this past spring.

(The beautiful poem above was a gift of words given to me in the midst of my suffering by my friend, writing coach, and fellow holy wonderer, Mick Silva)

Opening Closed Eyes

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. 

-Marcel Proust

My eyes cried tears of joy (not pain) last week–for the first time in years.

I’m better. I’m healing. I’m returning to life and life is returning to me.

I can walk, dance a little, play golf and laugh more. A whole lot more.

After years of pain tears . . . I don’t want to cry them anymore. I want to turn the page, start a new chapter, and read only forward. I want to close my eyes to my story of pain, and live only in the joy of my story of healing.

But you . . . you force open my closed eyes.

You who hurt. You who still suffer and shed pain tears that stream down your face and flood your life with fear, hopelessness, and despair.

I have chosen to sit with you, to share hope for healing, to make it my life’s purpose to serve you and help you in your healing journey as best I can.

You who hurt–you who open my closed eyes–you inspired me to cry again today. To read backwards and remember. To cry for me, and you, and all who suffer and hurt.

I can give you my knowledge, my skill, my training, and my hope. But that will never be enough–without giving you my heart.

I know you hurt. I’ve hurt too.

Exactly one year ago today I wrote this:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Scrubbing and Swearing and Succumbing

I’m down on my knees scrubbing the soap scum in the tub, praying it won’t hurt this time. But it does, it always does.

My foot is taped up and my back is cinched together with a belt. So I can walk. Until it hurts; it always does.

I’m at the doctor/physical therapist/massage office again. Because I hurt. I always do.

My recent self-portrait.  A much younger, happier me!
My recent self-portrait–a much younger, happier me!

 

I’ve had surgery, needles, medicine, and treatments that were supposed to help. Two have disabled me, another one almost killed me. My healing becomes more complicated and elusive, and counting time behind or ahead only confuses me now. Pain and fatigue are constant companions, bad friends. There are days I battle them with all my might, days they relent and give me peace, and days I just lay down in the middle of the ring and quit.

On stormy days swear words want to scream out of the frustration in my belly…so people will hear, really hear, the reality of my struggle.

But I know—only one really hears, only one really knows.

I remember running, I remember the breeze against my face riding a bike along the river trail, sweat dripping into my eyes after a boot-camp workout.

I want to run. I want to dance. I want to climb my mountain, stand on the summit, and proclaim victory over the defeat that has tried to consume me. I want it to echo across the valley, bounce off the other mountaintops and return to me. So I too, can hear it.

These pains, this suffering, should be called out on strikes, ruled unfair, and banished to the out-of-bounds of my life. I was in the game, I played well. The other players beat me up—didn’t listen or care for me like I deserved, failed in their oaths to “do no harm.”

But none of that matters, here on my knees.

Why the pain, who caused the pain, when I will be relieved from pain.

Only Jesus matters.

He’s scrubbing away the scum.

Polishing, always polishing, the glory He desires to reveal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You who hurt–thank you for opening the eyes of my heart.

I give you the tears of my heart and my prayers for your healing.

Hold on. Hold on. 

Your story is still being written. Your beauty polished.

And I believe with all my being, with all my heart, with all my suffering and all my joy . . . there is.

There is. There is . . . healing in the pain.

You who hurt–I cry today in awe of your courage.

~ Linda 

BPS Integrated TherapyI have recently returned to work as an occupational therapist, exclusively treating people in chronic pain. To find out more about my unique treatment approach visit me at BPSTherapy.com

Why I’m Choosing to Live Open-Wounded–Because Life Hurts and Healing is Never Perfect

“I can see you’re still not healed.”

“You’re not ready yet. You need more healing.”

Thanks people of the world, for noticing and confirming that I’m still a broken, wounded mess. No thanks for the box of shame I feel your words put me in.

The box of the Un-Healed.

It’s the place where I’m told I’m not qualified to handle life yet, that I shouldn’t show my wounds because they’re too messy for people to see, that anything less than perfect isn’t good enough, and that I can’t dare to speak, do, or be anything outside the confines of the walls of the box of Un-Healed.

I’m supposed to heal up here in this box, because only “healed” people qualify to live outside this box–at least that’s the message I’m led to believe.

The “Healed” give me “steps” and absolute answers that are supposed to be the keys to my healing.. They tell me to pray and read my Bible more.

“Go ahead,” they say, “apply these answers to your wounds yourself. It’s what you need to do to be healed.”

They may even call this compassion.

But it’s not.

Compassion, the real key to releasing the healing balm we need for our wounds, doesn’t come from perfect prescriptions from the “healed.”

love heart keyCompassion can only dispensed by the open-wounded. By those who put away their measuring sticks of perfection and revive, empower, and champion rather than rival, empale, and compare.

Connected, compassionate people create nets of healing to catch the falling, the failing, and the ones bleeding too much to ask for help. Because they know:

brutal beautiful

I know I’m not the only one suffocating, suffering, and yes, even occasionally swearing when I feel I’ve been shamed into the box of the Un-healed. I’ve found some of you there and we’ve started talking about our pain and our shame, and we’ve discovered that compassion is the key. Together, we’ve found the courage to punch our fists through the walls of the box, tearing the labels “unworthy,” “broken,” “too wounded,” and “not healed enough” that were plastered on the outside.

We know we can’t live and we can’t heal in here, in the shame of the Un-healed box. Hidden, silent, separate suffering does not heal.

A covered up wound may look better from the outside, but it always digs deeper into the flesh. It always gets worse.

Only open wounds can heal.

Open wounds are messy to look at and messy to deal with. They bleed on our white t-shirts of I-hope-you-only-see-that-I-have-it-all-together. We get stained by each other’s pain.

His blood stains us too. Our wounds became His.

And we. . .

We. Are. Him.

The Body. His Body on earth.

Open-wounded, we are able to love like He does. Bleeding together, we connect our suffering to His, our healing to His

There is no shame in living open-wounded. No. Shame. Anymore.

Yes, I’m Un-Healed. My complete and perfect healing will come the day He calls me to my perfect home. Until then, I’m going to live open-wounded.

So now, to the people of the world who see my wounds and say:

“I see you are not healed yet.”

I say, “HURRAY!”

I’m glad you see it, and I hope you always do. Because I want to invite you into my house that is a mess, with dishes in the sink and mold growing on the leftovers in the back of my refrigerator.

Compassion--the key to healing heartsSee the real me—Imperfect. Wounded. Sit down and let’s talk about the messiness of life. Let’s let the wounds hurt here and have no answers, no measuring sticks of perfection, no formulas for healing. I’ll serve you love offered on the used and abused chipped plate of my heart. It’s what I have to give.

Compassion is the only key that unlocks my healing.

Life hurts and healing is never perfect, so I’m choosing to live open-wounded. To dare to use the brutal to color life beautiful.

We can do this thing called true compassion.

We can put down the measuring sticks of our brokenness, and

pick up the healing keys of HOLY HEALING HEARTS.

Imperfect, open-wounded loving.

Brutal into beautiful.

Let’s dare to live–and LOVE–open-wounded to the hurting ones in our lives today.

Linda