I sit on my front porch alone. Although I was invited to the graduation party, I simply cannot go. My heart simultaneously longs for connection and dreads the pain of showing up in community. Our family has been navigating acute crisis for more than a year. I am battered and bloody and desperate for care. I am learning that the healing I need is often found outside of community in the healing hands of God.
I am learning about my codependency and how often I betray my needs in a desperate attempt to find comfort and care in community. My bloodied presence disrupts and brings discomfort. I am met with both pity and compassion. I see judgment and fear in the eyes of others and most tragically in the eyes of some who are closest.
In our humanity we are limited in capacity. I look to humans to give me what only God can give, and I’m left feeling betrayed, abandoned, missed, and dismissed in my hour of deepest need. I want to lash out, but instead, I turn inward and find God waiting for me with outstretched arms and healing grace. He binds up what is broken and restores what is crushed within me. He says, “There, there, I got you Bean! You are safe to rest now.”
I need time and space to heal and be restored so that I can show up in a way that is kind to both myself and those on the periphery who care in their imperfect human ways. I have found language and support through the Alanon community. I am allowed to show up bloody, and no one feels responsible to fix what has been broken beyond repair. The gaze I find there is a knowing and compassionate one. Even though they are not walking through our chaos, they stand closely and know the chaos that addiction and mental health crisis wrecks on the family
Being in a dependent stance has caused me to reach to people as my own form of addiction. This has caused me the pain that leads to growth. God is healing my attachment wounds as I learn to detach lovingly both from the addict in my life and also the people that I wish could rescue me from the hell this addiction has placed me in. I’m learning to attach securely to God’s perfect and unfailing love that heals, restores, and makes new.
Inside of God’s arms I am never alone or outside of what I truly need.
During this intense time of loss, I am acutely aware of a younger part of me that feels terrified and is in need of much attunement and care. As a little person, I was born into a chaotic and enmeshed family system. It was hard to determine where I began and the rest of the system ended. I felt safest and most at home outside. I remember walking barefoot on the sidewalks of our city streets and lying lifeless on tiny patches of green grass, held by the God I did not yet know. Throughout my recovery journey, I have come to embrace the truth that I am an outsider. The earth and creation are healing and helping to put the tiny and fragmented pieces back together. Alone, in creation, I am reminded of the light of my soul. I am not broken and in desperate need of repair, but I am already whole and being called to step into the healing that has already been given.
As I own my power to choose life, I am discovering there are places I am called to journey with others and other places I must go alone. A couple of weeks ago I ran to a solitude retreat in desperation. It held the paradox of being alone in community. The sacred container reminded me that it is safe to be alone while in community and it is good to step outside.
Stepping into the deeper places sometimes asks that we be the outsider. Learning this divine dance of stepping in and out of the house that is on fire as well as in and out of the community that is experiencing secondhand trauma is necessary. It is hard to bear witness to other people’s suffering. It is a powerless place to be, watching someone you love be annihilated by darkness. As I navigate this season, I step in and out and ultimately through the suffering that feels like death into a birth canal that leads to new life, joy, and freedom. I am on a pilgrimage, and even though I walk alone through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be overcome.
Jean Masukevich is a trauma sensitive yoga teacher and integrative coach with over 20 years of teaching experience. Her mission is to guide others to greater mind, body, Spirit integration and connection to their authentic self. She cultivates communities of care where individuals and groups heal and share their hearts and stories through movement, writing, meditation, integrative prayer, creativity, and the sacred art of listening. Jean holds an advanced certificate in grief and trauma from the Allender Center of the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and is a certified Spiritual Director through Sustainable Faith. Jean serves both children and adults and is available for in person and remote coaching. Contact her at Sowthatjean@gmail.com.