Eleven years ago I took my first step on the wellness journey by meeting with a spiritual director. I believed that wellness was a destination and with a little help, I could get from here to there. I have come to learn that the journey never ends. Instead of moving in a diagonal line up and to the right, the path to wellness in more like a spiral staircase leading always to deeper knowing that everything you need to be well is already within.
Jesus asked the question “Do you want to be well?” to an invalid who was lying beside a healing pool for 38 years. “I have no one to help me.” He replied. He felt completely helpless and stuck in a place where change seemed impossible. Jesus said, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk. Your faith has healed you.” (John 5:6) When feeling powerless to change our circumstances, it is tempting to lie down and silently wait for someone to help us. This story invites us to cry out in our distress. It takes faith to ask for help and believe that God and his people can and will intervene in our darkest night.
As we open our hearts in faith, God sees our desires buried like seeds in the dark. He cares enough to water the tiny seeds and lavish sunshine upon us. We also have work to do! We must continuously till the soil of our hearts and root out the weeds of negativity, fear, and cynicism, as well as the voices that mock and condemn the hope that is within. Focus on the light, and watch your faith and joy increase. Choosing gratitude in the in waiting helps breed contentment and gives us the strength to “Get up and walk.” We are invited to access the resurrection power within to do something. I can’t tell you what your next step is, but I promise if you pause to celebrate the goodness of this moment, the next right action will present itself. It takes tremendous courage to step in faith, when you have been stuck for so long. The pivotal moment on the journey is when you take a step for a change and shift your perspective.
Right now, my journey is stretching me beyond my comfort. Though overwhelmed, I am called to lead others toward wellness. I feel the mockery and the old familiar lies of the false self creeping in and hurling accusations against who I am and the work I am stepping out in faith to do. I am making progress in this area, but still struggle to abide in love and the truth that I am enough as I am today. While trying to keep up with the ever expanding work load, I sometimes lose my way.
In my effort to do well, I often forget to BE well.
In my desire to care for so many people and things, I often find myself gasping for air.
One evening this week when I picked my 11-year-old daughter up from play practice, she began to open up about friend problems. She was really struggling, and as she started to unpack the burden she was carrying, I could feel that it was too much for my tender heart to bear. I wanted to hold space and containment; to see her beautiful face in the midst of her pain with tears streaming from her eyes, but I couldn’t. I was taken out by fear, anxiety, and frustration. She just needed me to listen, but I kept pointing her back to the part she played in the “friend drama dance.” I didn’t like that she was choosing to play a victim, and though I tried to stay quiet, I kept leaking out judgment. My critical gaze led her into a shame spiral that caused her to bark back at me in anger which led to my anger and more shame for her which shut her down completely.
And so we dance!
Knowing that I missed her and was unable to just be with her in her grief led me to shame and deep sorrow. I wanted to clean up the mess and make it all well. I tucked her into bed, and since my husband was out of town I felt tortured and alone in the reality that I didn’t give her what she needed. That feeling made me want to sink into a pit of despair, but instead, I cried out in my distress.
I texted a friend, and asked for prayer. She turned on the light and pointed me back to truth. Her response read: “You are a good, good mama. You are allowed not to be perfect…You need rest and renewal. Can you rest in grace and extend kindness? Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies. I love you!” Her kindness held me in the dark and guided me back to the love at the center in which I could rest. Though I awoke in the morning with anxiety; so much to do and repair. I had a tricky road to navigate alongside my tender hearted little girl, yet deep in my soul I knew “It is well.”
When we are seen and loved in our imperfection, this love is always enough to carry us to the path that leads us on the journey back home to wellness.
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