“I’ll believe it when I see it!”
That’s the standard, isn’t it? We trust our eyes to tell us the truth. We rely on our senses to winnow out the chaff of falsehood and leave us with the meaty grain of truth.
But what if my eyes aren’t as trustworthy as I think?
What if my perception is limited and unreliable?
Living in the south means long, hot summers.
In the middle of July I would sign an affidavit that it has to be at least 100 degrees outside and not much cooler inside unless I run my air conditioner to the tune of a huge electric bill.
But if I do a little digging, I find that the average high for July and August in my part of Alabama is only 90-91 degrees.
Now, that doesn’t mean there are no days hotter, but it does mean that my sense of interminable heat is inaccurate and untrue. As a matter of fact, the average temp begins to decline mid-August when we are all panting for fall to make its appearance.
My point is this: when I am sweating in the middle of summer, I’m not in a position to give you an accurate weather report.
All I know is that I am hot.
All I know is that I think I will be hot for days and weeks to come. All I know is that a cool breeze would be welcome but it doesn’t seem to be in the offing anytime soon.
I don’t readily perceive the tiny creep toward cooler temperatures that is happening right under my nose.
It’s been the same way in my grief journey.
Four years in and I am definitely in a better mental, emotional and spiritual place than I was even a year ago.
But if you had asked me at any point during that time if I could perceive a shift toward healing, I would have said, “not really”.
I was (and am) relying on my senses to tell me where I am in this process of embracing the life I didn’t choose. Yet they are easily overwhelmed by my daily experience-crying one day, laughing the next, undone by memories again, blessed by a friend’s text or phone call-filled to the brim with input.
I have a hard time sorting it out and looking objectively at what the data suggests.
When I can take a step back, I see that my heart has healed in some measure. I have enfolded the truth that Dominic is not here into who I am and what my life will look like until I join him in heaven.
And understanding THAT helps me continue this journey.
I don’t want to be stuck in the misperception that I can “never learn to live without my son”.
I am learning how to do just that.
I don’t like it. I will NEVER like it.
But I am doing it.
Little by little, in tiny increments, every day reaching out, reaching forward and making choices that promote healing.
Even if I can’t see it.