“Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.”
Today, I am healing from surgery, from lasers cutting eyelid skin, sutures lifting and resizing my eyelids, restoring my peripheral vision. I am healing so that I can experience the world in a richer, more complete way.
This morning, I walked down the lane, greeting the early morning sky with a new enthusiasm, with literally a new vision of the new day. I am re-experiencing the miracle of sight, and of experiencing the world.
Now, my task is to heal. I rest, I sleep, I eat healthy foods, I manage my pain, and I tend to my wounds. All of my day’s tasks is focused on my healing from my surgery. Time is on my side, as I rest and heal, and do the work that is needed to do to recover, to take care of my body, and to celebrate the precious gift of sight.
As I lay back, ice pack on my eyes, letting the cold sink into the skin, into my head, into the wounds, I let the miracle of the cold bring fresh blood to the wounds, more nutrients, more of my life force. My nature is to seek warm, to be comforted by heat, to soak up the sun and bask in the cozy comfort of my bed, reveling in the last bit of drowziness before my day begins.
Yet, it is the cold, the adversity, that brings the healing. To be tested, to be on the edge, and to have to struggle a bit, against the cold, that makes my body stronger, that brings the healing energies I need.
This process is a metaphor of my struggles as a man, to be able to see my wounds, and to take the steps I need to heal, and to be a complete, whole man.
As I grew up, and as I lived through childhood, teenage life, adolescence, and young adulthood, I was wounded. I struggled, and my questions of who I was and what I was all about were unanswered, even mocked, ridiculed. I faced violence, indifference, degradation, and falsehoods. I was led into the wilderness, and then laughed at when I became lost, uncertain as to where I should walk to find my future, my sense of place, my sense of being in this world.
Love of self, and love of others remained a mystery to me, and I was left in the cold, unsure of who I was, unsure of what my role in this world was to be. I was lost and needed to be found, and to find myself.
Those wounds did not bleed like the wounds on my eyes this week. Those wounds were not so easily treated, with sutures, and salves, and the healing powers and potions of my surgeons and nurses. Those wounds were not easily cleansed by sleep, and food, and the loving care of my family.
Yet, those wounds were the most painful, and the most dehumanizing. I was led to believe they did not exist, yet they were the most infectious, the most unnerving, the hardest to treat.
Other men embraced me, encouraging me to push my shoulders back, to open my eyes, and embrace these wounds, and to embrace the challenges of becoming a whole man, a healthy man, a man who has his place in the world, and a destiny to fulfill.
Yes, I am a good person, I am a child of God, I am healthy, and strong, and I have purpose in my life. I have a place in this planet, and I am valued. I am important, and capable of fulfilling my destiny.
I have work to do. I have missions to accomplish. I have tasks to complete, and I am called to be a citizen of the world, and to do good in my life. And, in preparing for that work, in undertaking that work, I must tend to my wounds, and I must do the healing that is needed in order to be healthy, to be strong.
Real health, and real strength comes from embracing my manhood, from seeing my wounds, and treating them. It is my task to open them, and let the pus and infection drain away, and then it is time for the healing. I have a duty to heal, and to give time to myself to be tender with myself, to clean the infection, and to medicate myself with unconditional love and understanding, with acceptance, and with a friendship with God, so that I become healed.
Others helped me. Others showed me the paths to take, and the medications to use. Others offered advice and direction, and comfort. But, most of all, they offered me unconditional love and acceptance, of who I was, and who I was becoming. They accepted me on my journey, and offered support, and kindness, and understanding. They offered patience with me, giving me time to grow, and to heal.
The real work was done deep inside of me. I needed time and confidence, I needed to find my own tools, and to learn how to use them. I needed to go deep, and to connect with God, and to find who I am really am.
I needed to be on my journey, and to take on the leadership that my soul needed to move ahead in life. I am the captain of my ship, and I needed to take the wheel, and to sail through the storms, and to plot my course to the safe harbors. Yet, I needed to be tested and to discover, for myself, that I am strong, that I am capable, that I am filled with love, and that, if I put my soul into a struggle, then I will succeed, and I will find my destiny.
Today, I heal. Today, I move on, learning, accepting, meeting the challenges of today. Today, I embrace my manhood, my humanity, my cloak of being a child of God. I am loved, and I am loving. I know my destiny.
—-Neal Lemery, 2/21/2014