healing (soLs)

In January I wrote a letter to 2012. It (and the response from others) has stuck with me during these first five months of the year. I’m learning a lot about healing.

When we adopted our daughters, I knew we were embarking on a road of restoration. They were fragile, yet resilient little souls. I held them and prayed and molded myself to their needs. It was hard.

Very hard.

We don’t often talk about this part of life. The hard times. The times when you feel like you aren’t enough. The times when you’re sure you’re failing and things are never-not-ever going to be right again. The times when you’re drained. The times when it is too much of an effort to even smear lotion on your legs, let alone put on make up and cute shoes. The times when pieces of your whole self disappear and you are left with a shell of the woman you once were.

The past four years have brought restoration to my daughters. They are amazing, self-confident, and wholly-loved little girls. Me, on the other hand, well, I’m not sure I fared quite as well. I was weary, at best. Frazzled. Exhausted.

This is why my letter to 2012 brought me hope. 2012 hasn’t disappointed. The past five months have brought restoration to my own soul. I have energy for little things (like lotion) and big things (like overnight trips). I realize our adoption journey wasn’t just about restoration for two fragile, yet resilient little souls. It was for me too. It was learning to grow and change and bloom into a stronger version of myself.

I think sometimes we are so busy surviving or helping others to survive that we forget to take care of ourselves. If this is where you find yourself right now, I want you to know it’s okay. Start small. Smear some lotion on your legs or go for a short walk. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Life is a process. Sometimes we hold on and simply step through the mess. Other times we get to catch a glimpse of the way the mess transforms us into something we never imagined possible.

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  1. Such an amazing journey. I am glad that you have been sharing glimpses into this process with us. I also think about the books and blogging you have been writing in the midst of this journey.

    I replied to your comment on my blog, but just in case you don't see it, I wanted to let you know that while I was working toward my deadline the last couple of weeks, I often thought of your “I don't wanna write” post. It helped put a smile on my face to gear up for another round. That's the power of posts – they tend to stick with us as we encounter the everyday events of our lives.

  2. It's the hardest part of motherhood isn't it, finding (taking) time for ourselves? It is going to be something I work on this summer…now that my kids are grown! lol Don't wait as long as I have.

  3. I can hear a voice of a strong woman. It takes strength to allow oneself to be/feel weak and fragile.
    I'm continuously at awe when I read about your and your family's journey of adoption. Your heart is boundless.
    My favorite lines: “It was learning to grow and change and bloom into a stronger version of myself” and “to catch a glimpse of the way the mess transforms us into something we never imagined possible.”
    Thank you.

  4. “I think sometimes we are so busy surviving or helping others to survive that we forget to take care of ourselves.” Your piece really spoke to me today. Thank you.

  5. Wow Ruth, what an amazing post! I love the line “learning to grow and change and bloom into a stronger version of myself”. I'm often guilty of not taking care of myself and your words are a soothing reminder as well as a call to action.
    You have reminded me of one of my favorite Bibical quotes: “So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.” – Hebrews 12:12-13

  6. I appreciate this slice, Ruth. It could not have come at a better time for me. It IS important to take time for ourselves, even if it is only to vent about things that are overwhelming us (in my case). I feel selfish when I want more time to myself, alone or when I am expressing how “stressful” my life is. (Oh, please!) But, your slice resonates with me because it tells me that it is okay to be me-centered sometimes, without feeling the guilt of selfishness.

    Thank you for sharing… Heal on!

  7. Healing is such an amazing and miraculous thing. I am intrigued by the way we each approach the healing process. Your letter is a great reminder and what a treasure for you to have written that letter to refer back to, and feel reassured once again.

  8. I agree, it's so easy to neglect ourselves when we are so busy taking care of others. However, it is so important to remember how valuable WE are to those we love and that love us. It's okay to be a little “selfish” and take some time for ourselves.

  9. This is so beautiful and real…life is a process. I went to read for the first time your letter to 2012 and thank you for the transparent sharing.

  10. I am so happy to hear that the first five months of 2012 have been good for you….continue taking care of yourself, doing things for you. In the end, that benefits everyone!

  11. It's lovely that you are sharing these parts of your life, Ruth, the challenging navigation of making a family, with the kids there & then yourself too. I am, like Deb. so glad you believe that these five months are good. Thank you for that final paragraph-you've said it just right!

  12. Very healing for those of us who read this as well Ruth.
    No matter which chapter of our life we are in, we must take care of ourselves. Thanks for sharing this slice.

  13. So good to read this update and to know you are taking care of yourself as well. I love the letter writing idea. Annie Lamott just wrote a tweet about that recently. A few years ago, I wrote a letter to my mom as she was beginning to show more signs of memory loss from the Alzheimer's. I just wrote it for me, a way of dealing with the grief that was just then beginning. I should revisit that writing.

  14. I am glad that you shared how hard…but also how wonderful. I've moved into being that stronger self… having our Kelly for eight years now. We started with her as I was blooming into my menopausal self and wow…it was rocky. I need to reflect and write about this hard part. xo nanc

  15. Thank you for sharing this truth with us. It is those tiny tiny things we do each day to take of ourselves. How lucky for your daughters to have you. Isn't lotion a great healer?

  16. I read this post when you first put it up for public sharing Ruth and I was ready to respond but I couldn't. I had to digest the intimacy of your sharing your struggles with this community.
    It's so much easier to share the great days, the good days but the darker side, the challenges…often that's not included.

    Thanks so much for putting it all out there. Now that's a model for us