Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Moving from Hurt to Healing: How 1 Step Back Can Take You 2 Steps Forward

The Lily we planted has bloomed!
This morning, like every morning as I went out to the car in my driveway, I glanced at the lily. Aida and I had planted it in memory of her sister, who had died suddenly back at the beginning of May.

During difficult times, it is often hard to picture life any other way. In the heart of a crisis, serious illness, medical emergency, divorce, bereavement or job loss it is difficult to imagine that things will ever be different or better. Looking out into the future is frightening particularly if what you imagine is more of what you are living through or dare I say it, worse. Sometimes things do get worse, before they get better. 

Rarely do they stay the same. 

When you are in the heart of these trying experiences, it is challenging  to believe that through the passage of time things will change. But some things will change.  Invariably they do. 

It is, however,  difficult to measure those changes or to see them if you are so close up to the crisis. 

For 6 weeks there were no signs of new life on the lily. Its growth seemed stagnant. The green leaves appeared to be surviving but not thriving. Some even yellowed and withered.

Two weeks ago shoots suddenly appeared where none had been. 

Today eight weeks later, I saw with great pleasure, its first lemon flower had opened with its
mouth nodding towards the blue sky. When we had planted it, there had been long, lolloping green leaves, but no signs of flower stalks or a single corn-on-the-cob shaped bud. Now I have counted at least 48 buds! 

I have taken pictures and sent them to Aida.

There will be 48 flowers where there had been none 8 weeks ago. This plant has been quietly growing, strong and proud through tremendous storms and over watering  and major periods of intense heat as any of you will attest to, if you are living in Maryland.

 It reminds me of how each of my children who, when my husband was hospitalized with trigeminal neuralgia and then recovering from brain surgery, quietly grew and changed and reached milestones, whilst I as spousal caregiver and Mom, thought time had stood still. 

Although they also went through challenging times with their father's illness, Benjy completed his first year of college. Aron became an EMT and Jacob learned to rock climb. Things did not stay the same. Jonny had some very rocky moments with his health, but even then nothing was static. We learned more, researched more, found new docs with different solutions and our new normal became our reality.

So this brand new lily flower is a reminder. Although hours can seem achingly slow in tough times. Days can be agonizing and debilitating...... 
..........quietly, beneath the surface things are changing, moving and growing so that where you were two months ago is not where you are today. 

The flowers on the lily re enforced for me, that you cannot go back to what was, but you can move forward slowly, gently, tentatively to a new place carrying your experiences with you on your journey. 

And perhaps, when the time is right, sowing them into something new and quite beautiful.

I hope these words bring you comfort. Let me know how looking back in time showed you that situations don't remain static. How did you find your strength to move forward one or two steps at a time?

Have you ever started something new to honor someone or to help you heal? How did that growth of a project help you?

If this post resonated with you, please help me grow(!) my readership  by sharing and reposting it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


 Please email me at gilly@bringingbooksofcomfort.org or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 
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  1. Dear Gilly,

    As a dancer, I can really relate to your post: two steps forward, three steps back. Leaping forward, stop and breath. Who choreographs our movements? Is it us, the universe or both?

  2. Good question. If we believe we have free will then we do....but our actions have reactions in the universe....like butterfly wings perhaps?

  3. Totally get this one, in the thick of defining change in my life and it's not easy but i can see things changing and moving forward in many ways. not sure where it will end up but its a journey right?

  4. It's great and I hope encouraging that you are able to see that things are changing and progressing. Change can be very uncomfortable but the results I hope will be worth it. Good luck with your journey. Thanks for leaving me a message.

  5. There's a great quote "nothing bad lasts for very long, but nothing good does either." I try to remember that, both in times of great struggle, and in times of great triumph.

    Things change, both in good times and in bad. Change is hard, transformative, but hard. Necessary, but hard. And sometimes, the most needed change, is the hardest.

    This is a fabulous post.

  6. I think that quote is also a reminder that it is in having the lows that we also can really appreciate the highs.

    I have yet to meet someone who really relishes change and yet we need changes to happen in order to grow and move forward. Thank you very much for your comment and feedback Jodi and for stopping by.