I want you to know this: time heals. If you’re in a situation of a tough life transition, dealing with something like a messy breakup or mourning a death, I want you to know that this is true—or can be true. When I felt like life kept spitting me in the face, I didn’t like to hear that the passage of time was going to be the best healer. In the society we live in, time takes a long time when we’re used to instant gratification.
But today, I found something that made me realize it was (maybe painfully) true. I found a bunch of post-it notes near the back of the clutter on my desk—I had known they were there, but I just hadn’t looked at them in a couple weeks. And so I read through about 30-something sticky notes scrawled with royal blue permanent marker every uncensored thought that had come into my head when I had sat in my dimly lit room feeling more lonely and empty than I had ever felt in my life. What I held in my hands was a pile of curses, fears, lies, and desperations. I read through them all and I found myself breathing a sigh of relief; although those feelings were very real at the time I had written them, I could sense that those curses, fears, lies, and desperations had—for the most part—left me since then. To know that my soul had begun to lift the shroud of darkness gave me hope.
If you are in the same sort of place I was in—do this. Get a pad of sticky notes and a marker, find a quiet place, and write like nothing else matters. Write everything out—no filters allowed. If you’re a person that is cautious to use profanity, (as I was), just let go and use it; if it’s already in your mind, it might as well be written on paper. You have to get everything out there so you can release it.
What you write might scare you; it scared me to see what my emotions looked like written down. But after you’ve exhausted your mind and your hand, take the notes and put them away somewhere—in a box, a drawer, whatever. Then leave the room you were in; physically making yourself walk away from your thoughts will distance them from your mind. Go do something—go exercise, go to a store, start some homework—but what I’d say is the best approach is to meet up with someone you trust and talk to them about how you’re feeling or just do something with them.
And the next day, go do something again. You have to fight by making yourself do things and connecting yourself to the people you love if you are going to survive. And also search for answers—find out how to heal, read about how other people have found healing, too. Lay in the middle of a field and stare up at the night sky. Talk to God or something. You may believe he’s checked out of your life for now, but if you pay attention, you might find him in more places than you’ve been aware (even if it’s in a friend or in sunshine).
A couple weeks, a couple months later, take out the notes and read them—all of them. See for yourself the ways you have changed since then, the ways you feel or view things differently—and for the things that maybe haven’t changed, know you still have time to figure these out. But my hope is that you’ll find, as I did, that time—paired with the willingness to keep walking every day and keep seeking counsel and love from friends and keep looking for answers—heals. Take heart.