“Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place.
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.”
To allow someone to hold you in your tender and broken places is a risk. I spent most of my life shrinking, hiding, scratching and clawing in my sadness and need. I have since learned a new way. The path of love and healing is always through connection. It is terrifying to ask for what you need. What if… the other is too busy or unable, what if they do it wrong, or say no??? To face rejection, dismissal or disappointment in the tender places feels like death and is simply more than the human heart was meant to bear.
These “what ifs” have kept me bound to fear for too long. In my choice to grow up and to walk in faith, I have learned to name and identify the fear that keeps me small and alone. My work has been to lean toward that which I fear. To look fear straight in the eye and choose love. To soften and allow another into my terror feels like the most absurd thing of all that I could choose, but it is exactly what works… every time. For me, it is mostly Kevin; the one who has chosen and promised to stay by my side in the good and bad until death do us part. He goes by the name Sweet Angel, and he truly is.
He has strong and able arms to hold me. They are tender and kind too. He has learned to sit with me in the valley without trying to fix or rescue me or tell me what to do. He simply holds me and I allow his love to steady me. This is a new way of being for us. In the past, my need triggered his shame. It was a brutal dance that left us both empty and disconnected. Part of the problem was that I didn’t even realize I had a need until I was desperate. My desperation would cause him to grow silently absent because he felt so helpless. His lack of responsiveness felt so unkind in my desperate need for care which triggered my anger and withdrawal. This vicious cycle left us exhausted and hopeless.
It has taken a lot of practice and good hard work to move out of our old dysfunctional patterns into the sweet new dance that we have found.
It began at the end of my rope, in a therapist’s office, where I received Emmanuel prayer. Jesus met me in my desperation and gave me the following words:
Each of these words came with an image of Jesus meeting me in my need and caring for me. I found so much grief and fear locked up inside of me as I softened and allowed another to hold a space for me. As I began to enter into my brokenness, I started to find healing and freedom. I learned that I was not able to receive Kevin’s embrace and care because I was terrified, hurt, and shut down.
Bit by bit, I am learning to name and acknowledge what I feel and need. As I bring the fullness of my desire to Kevin, he is learning to heal and love with me. We are growing closer in a beautiful and messy way. We fail and fall short. We say sorry and begin again. When the waves of grief come crashing through my door, I no longer hide under the bed. I take a step toward Kevin and in my trembling, I ask “will you hold me?” I climb onto his lap like a giant child. He simply holds me lovingly until the tears stop and I find my words again.
It turns out that I really don’t need much…
Just eyes to see me, a heart that cares, hands to hold me and remind me that I am not alone. It is such a gift when you find that just what you really need has been there all along. Like, the great wizard from Oz reminded us, love will always point you back home. There you will find the brains, the heart, the nerves, and the Way… Truth, and Light. It is within and all around us always.
Jean Masukevich is a special education and yoga teacher. She holds an advanced certificate in grief and trauma from the Allender Center of Psychology and Theology and is passionate about facilitating healing spaces for individuals and groups in need of care. Her therapeutic approach incorporates yoga, meditation, art and the use of narratives to help people integrate mind, body and Spirit. Jean loves to play outside and enjoys quality time with her husband and four awesome children. You can find her here: www.sowthat.com