Why Healing is the Bravest Adventure
By Bo Stern-Brady
My husband and I are on our honeymoon right now and it’s been amazing. When choosing our destination, the top of our wish list was: A romantic place to relax and decompress - and Maui has been exactly that. Relaxing. Refreshing. But also - healing.
We both brought some brokenness into our marriage. We have wounds - seen and unseen - from the years before we knew each other. Our stories of origin come pre-loaded with enduring vulnerabilities that make us afraid or angry or suspicious or defensive or cynical. So much heartache lives in the places no one else can see. We all have it and we all need healing.
And the thing about healing is: It’s hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Why doesn’t everyone do it? My suspicion is because the process to true healing, while immeasurably valuable, also requires sometimes superhuman levels of bravery. A few reasons:
-It takes bravery to let go of the hurts that have defined us because to let go of the damage means to let go of the definition. And if I’m not defined by my fear of having a husband get sick and die, then I am required to decide who I WILL be instead. Our hurts are tried and true. They are the known territory of our souls. Whatever lies beyond is unknown and unsettled - the edge of the wild - and will require work to discover and develop. Work is hard. And time-consuming. And it can be exhausting. But it’s also worth it. I’m convinced that it is.
-It takes bravery to pursue healing because our wounds explain to the world why we are the way we are. “Of course she has trouble risking in love, she lost her husband so young….” That sentence could serve as my hall pass out of commitment for the rest of my life if I let it. But it would also become the ticket into a unendingly lonely existence.
-It takes bravery to reach for healing because we know once we’re “healed” we’ll be expected to take our fresh, soft skin out into the dangerous world and try again. Fear of being hurt keeps us locked inside our hurt. How ironic and sad is that?
Cliff and I have each brought a mixed bag of mindsets about love and loss into our current marriage. Throughout our engagement, we’ve been praying that the Holy Spirit would begin to unwind the untrue or unproductive thoughts that have wrapped themselves around us like saran wrap over old leftovers. We’ve been asking Him to take away the bandages we’ve used to stop the bleeding so that we could mend those wounds together, bringing love and grace and passion to the tender places. This first week together has been the beginning of that adventure - a new level of knowing, loving and trusting each other and Jesus with the broken pieces that make us the complicated, messy, hopeful, needy people we are. It’s a beautiful, scary, brave thing, this journey toward healing, but I feel it happening layer by layer, day by day.
As we look at this idea of pursuing adventure, could I encourage you to be brave enough to put the quest for true healing at the top of your bucket list? It might be tempting to distract yourself from the pain of the past by planning noisier, less arduous adventures, but I promise you the payoff will be huge. And I know that the God of Great Adventure has already given you the courage you need to go to the deep places and do the deep work.
P.S. You can follow our less-serious and introspective honeymoon adventures on instagram @bosternbrady.