I read the word several times now on black inked stained ivory pages. “Wholeheartedness.” I was reading Dr. Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly and she kept mentioning the importance of wholeheartedness. But here’s the thing. I kept getting stuck on the first few letters. The w. The h. The o. The l. The e. Whole. I was stuck on whole and the importance of being whole.
A few yeas ago is when I started working with individuals who had been sexually abused and sexually assaulted. As different as the women were from each other, rarely two perpetrators being the same or if they were they were not abusing or assaulting the same, no two court cases the same, but the need to be whole- now that was exactly the same. It didn’t mater if the trauma happened when they were 9 or 19, if they knew the perpetrator 15 years, months, or minutes, the people who sat before me wanted to be whole. They wanted to do something with the fragments of their lives, something more than carry sharp self injurious pieces with them, more than try to piece meal it together week after week in my office. They sat with wounded jagged edged hearts that longed to be whole. They longed for wholeheartedness.
I wanted it for them and with them. I actually wanted it for myself. I still want it for myself. I didn’t think I still wanted it for myself until recently. When I decided I had just to watch enough down time to watch Safe Haven, a movie about a woman (played by Julianne Hough) who was abused, escaped to this sweet picturesque southern beach town to start over, reluctantly allowing herself to fall in love with a guy (played by the oh so handsome Josh Duhamel), only for her abusive alcoholic police husband to find her and try to kill her. As I watched ht film I marveled at her ability to risk loving again. How did she not consider herself too damaged, too broken, worthy but not ready of love? How was she not like my clients? How was she not like me?
Would I ever not be so broken, so afraid, so contentedly avoidant?
“Yes Ahyana.” I answered myself.
When you’re a counselor you’re not immune to struggle, pain, fear, anxiety, stress, or doubt. However, you do become pretty good at recognizing faulty thinking and reminding yourself you have the ability to change your way of thinking and how your story ends despite how it began.
My life and the lives of the trauma survivors I worked with wouldn’t be like the movie. It doesn’t work that way. Our lives instead would be like a mosaic piece of art work. Mosaic artwork is a whole end product made of visibly broken pieces. It is something made whole and beautiful out of shattered fragmented bits and pieces. It’s something who’s value as the compilation of it’s pieces is greater than the value of each individual piece. It’s something that seals together scattered bits of this and that to produce a masterpiece. My own trauma and drama has indeed been sealed by exposure to and engagement in healthy relationships, effective communication, joy, love, compassion, faith, adversity soon become victory, and the list goes on. The good in life was drawing together the pieces of my pain to create an authentic one of a kind masterpiece- me.
I still want to be whole. I’ve come a long way and I am grateful for that but I still have a ways to go and I know that a huge part of my wholeness will come through my faith in Christ. I’m also rather certain that some of the ways I have left to go will require me taking more risk, becoming increasingly vulnerable, honestly honoring the already sealed fragmented pieces, and patiently waiting for the other pieces of pain to be stitched together by positive healthy life giving experiences. I’m convinced that wholeness is much more of a process than a product as I initially thought, and that I and my former clients will constantly seek to be whole because the truth is we will constantly have life encounters that chip away at us and then new ones that mend us where we were broken.
My prayer for you this week is that if you are wandering if you’ll ever be made whole that you will believe indeed you will. My prayer is that you will recognize wholeness is a process and you will embrace it for that. My prayer is that when you begin to think you won’t get the happy ending (granted you may not get Josh Duhamel) you will remind yourself you are worthy of the happy ending and well you just haven’t reached the end yet so you have to keep moving forward. And finally my prayer is that you will stop and see the beauty in the broken pieces that are coming together wonderfully to create a genuine one of a kind mosaic masterpiece- you.