I remember when I was a little kid, driving with my parents, sitting in the back seat sans seatbelt (there were no such things in those days) and leaning over the front seat, repeatedly asking my parents, “Are we there yet?” or “How long til we get there?”
Of course there had been no reasonable way for my parents to convey to me “how long” since I didn’t tell time when I was four, so there was no use saying “one hour” because I wouldn’t be able to comprehend what an “hour” was. Time is sort of fluid anyway, relative to what is going on. If you are bored, an hour is forever. If you are interested in something, an hour is very short. To a bored child in the back seat of a car, the trip seems to take forever with no end in sight. The trip is a price to be paid for arriving at the destination.
When I started the journey toward Healing from my prior experiences with the psychopaths in my life and family, I was in pain. I wanted the journey to be over; I wanted to get to being healed quickly. The journey itself didn’t interest me any more than the passing countryside had interested me when I was riding in the back seat of my parents’ car. I was tired of that trip before it even started. I wanted to be there!
Unlike the smooth ride in the backseat of my parents’ car, which required no effort on my part, this journey to Healing required me to steer and power the vehicle. I had to make sure I didn’t run out of fuel, and that the equipment was in order. Some days my tires went flat and I had to get out and fix them. Other days my emotional radiator boiled over and I sat feeling helpless on the side of the road with smoke boiling out from under my hood. Some days I was simply out of gas with no refueling station anywhere in sight as far as the eye could see.
The road to Healing was a terrible road, with huge potholes that seemed to appear out of nowhere, and sometimes my wheels would hit these potholes. My tires would sink to the axle and I would have to get out and dig and dig until I could get enough dirt pushed under them to get the car out. Other times, the road would be slimed with mud and I would skid into the ditches of despair.
From time to time I would see someone else along the road, and occasionally someone would come along when I needed help the most and offer me a very welcome hand.
I became so tired from this journey that I just wondered if I would ever get there. What I really wanted was someone to come along and offer me a magic carpet so I could just fly over all this terrible barren terrain and I could just get there to Healing!
Often times the signposts along the road were unclear and I wasn’t even sure I was even on the right road. Other times, some prankster must have turned the signs around because I would take a turn, certain I was reading the sign correctly, and wind up down a dead end trail with barely enough room to turn my vehicle around. At times like these I felt so utterly alone and stupid for not being more careful and allowing myself to get off the correct road.
One day when I felt that I just couldn’t go on any longer, that it was too much work to keep my old vehicle going with broken springs that seemed to make each rut, each pot hole, and each rock in the road jar my back teeth loose, I discovered I was no longer on the road alone. I looked around me and I saw other people on the road. Where had they come from? Had they been there before and I was too self absorbed, too weighted down with my own woes, to even notice them? I also noticed that some of these people were riding bicycles, some were on scooters, some were walking. Some of the others on the road were on crutches, or in wheel chairs, and some of these people were even crawling.
I looked around at these people and then back at my old vehicle with its rusting fenders, threadbare tires and leaking radiator, but I realized that it was not so “bad” after all. It might not have been a Cadillac, but I wasn’t having to walk or crawl. I realized there were others who were less fortunate than me. I felt shame in myself for being so self absorbed, for not realizing that I didn’t have it “so bad” after all. I recited the old saying about, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.” I thanked God for my old vehicle.
As I restarted my journey I became acquainted with some of my fellow travelers, and we shared our stories, our pains, and our insights. When we would come to a crossroads that seemed confusing, we would help each other, and if one fell down, the others reached out to him to help him up. Having company on the journey made it seem less lonely. Though there was no magic carpet there to whisk me away to the destination of Healing, it was comforting to have company.
Sometimes I would pause and rest a while with a fellow traveler. As we traveled down the road we would meet new travelers, freshly injured, also seeking Healing. Those of us on the road would call to them to join us in the journey, comforting and supporting each other on the way. Sometimes the newly injured would join us, but other times, those bleeding injured souls would wander off the road or fall in to the abyss and no matter how we would call to them, they would not answer and sorrowfully, we would have to move on down the road toward Healing without them.
No matter how far I traveled it never seemed I was any nearer to Healing than before. As I traveled the road, it became smoother and I was becoming stronger from my struggles to climb the hills, cover the hurdles, get out of the pot holes, but I never saw a sign that said “how long ’til we get there.” I never saw a sign that said, “Healing 50 miles.” I began to wonder if I would ever arrive at Healing. I even asked some of my fellow travelers, “Are we there yet? How long ’til we get there?” No one could answer me. No one could tell me “how long before we get there?”
As I traveled and the road became smoother, and there were even stretches of pavement that I could roll across without the jarring rocks and ruts, and I began to enjoy the journey. I would gaze off into the distance and see mountains and vistas of incredible beauty that filled my heart with joy just to behold. I had passed out of the terrible salt flats of hell and reached a place where there was beauty and joy, and the road was smoother. Even my old vehicle started to run better and give me less trouble, and I found refueling stations on a regular basis and quit forgetting to check the oil and tire pressure, so I didn’t have flats and other problems so often any more.
Along the road I had also seen some changes and growth in my traveling partners. They were becoming stronger and starting to sing as they walked or rode along. Even some of those in wheel chairs were beginning to walk again, and some that had used crutches had thrown them away and were walking straight and strong. It made me happy to see my new friends recovering and getting better and stronger; it made me feel good to feel stronger myself.
At times my new friends and I would talk about our former lives before we started on the Healing road, and sometimes we even missed some of those people we had had to leave behind. Unkind people who had wounded us, yet we loved and missed, but even those memories of our former lives started to change as we sang along the road toward Healing. We started to make new plans and put together new lives.
I would reach milestones from time to time, the milestone of setting boundaries, another one for forgiveness and a milestone for honesty. As I passed each milestone I felt renewed strength and stamina, but I wondered, “When will I get to Healing? When will I be there?”
Then I came to a milestone that said, “Healing is a journey, not a destination.” I realized that there was no end to the Healing Road; it would go on for the rest of my life. It isn’t about getting to some place and being there; it is about enjoying the journey. It is about growth and learning and companionship with others on the same road. It is about comforting others who have fallen, as there were those that comforted you when you fell. It is the shared experiences of seeing the sun shining on the distant mountains, or reassuring each other during a storm. Healing is about life—living life, experiencing life, and sharing life.