I recently completed a book written by sisters, Elaine Heath and Jeanine Heath-McGlinn, titled “Loving the Hell Out of Ourselves (and others).”* It is a powerful memoir of their growing up in an abusive, neglectful home.  Both are survivors of sexual abuse.  It is also a story of resilience, courage, redemption and deep faith.  They tell their story with honesty and perspective.  I am inspired by their story. Two quotes stand out for me:

We are always beginners

“It’s probably the most natural thing in the world to think that once you’ve gone to therapy or spiritual direction or confession that you’re done, but really, it’s just the beginning. We are always beginners in some sense, no matter how long the journey.  We’re continuously given opportunities to go deeper, reach higher, to see behind the next birch tree.”

Loving the Hell Out of Ourselves(and others), pg 192

How often have you felt like “will I ever be done with this hard work of healing?”  It is a question I ponder regularly.  There is a part of me which is ready to be all done, to move on with things in my life.  Enough already.  Jeanine Heath-McGlinn reminds us the journey does not end but rather offers us new opportunities to grow, to learn, to go deeper.  Our lives and our healing are in themselves a continuous adventure with wondrous, surprising new twists and turns. 

 Several years ago I hiked the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park.  It is a spectacular trail running along  the side of a mountain range.  In the distance an endless vista of mountain and wilderness stretches out before you.  Each time you round another bend there is a new view as breath taking as the last. I am coming to think of the healing journey like this.  Each turn it takes presents new challenges, opportunities and blessings.  “We’re continuously given the opportunities to go deeper…” 

Bravely Go Toward the Thing That Frightens us most

“As courageous warriors, we bravely go toward the thing that frightens us most.  Perhaps it is confronting old stories, old lies, old assumptions.  Maybe it is finally bringing a secret shame into light.  A wounded healer is a warrior in going into the consuming fire of fear but in the momentum of truth telling and emotional connection, the monster of pain dissipates.”

Loving the Hell Out of Ourselves(and others), pg 208

Fear is such a powerful emotion.  I’ve lived with it all my life.  Many survivors have shared the same experience with me. Jeanine reminds us that bravery is going toward our fear.  Survivors are brave, courageous, incredible individuals.  As we heal we face our fears, our shames, our assumptions as we tell our stories challenging the narratives which have controlled and trapped us.  All of us bear the scars of this battle.  We are courageous warriors not just for ourselves, but in our own healing journey as we offer hope and strength to others. 

I continually find myself in awe of the strength of the survivors I meet.  I believe we have much to offer our world in so need of healing, compassion and hope.  

We are courageous warriors, bravely going toward what frightens us, carrying truth telling, emotional connection into the battle for ourselves and others to experience healing and hope.

Each of us has a story to tell.  I’d welcome the chance to help you tell your story.  You can reach me at mike@menhealing.org.  Do you have a book you’d like to recommend, review and share how it has impacted you? If so use the comments section below to share.

Be well. Stay safe.  Take good care.

Mike

*Loving the Hell Out of Ourselves(and others), Elaine A. Heath and Jeanie B. Heath-McGlinn, Birch & Alder, 2021

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