Memoir: On Healing

Tiffany Light, Photojournalist

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There were tree branches everywhere. Some were snapped into little pieces, some were whole but exhausted. Puddles of water snuggled up to the curbs. Droplets of rain still cried on car windows. Something scary and violent had just pushed its way through the town. After everyone was aware it had finally calmed down, some opened their windows, or blew out their candles, but I went outside. I had the urge to bring my camera with me and have it kiss the broken pieces. I, too, had been broken, but not at that particular moment. It was as if the trees were whispering my name. They longed for my healing energy. They longed for my wisdom.

When I stood at the curb of my driveway, I spotted a dead bird using a puddle as a bed. I had taken this as a sign to be gentle. To cry if needed, or to empty my internal cup completely; if that meant giving an ounce of life to broken or dead remains. You see, in this moment, I was okay with being empty. I was okay with giving too much of myself and not getting much in return. I never really believed in God. I believed in the universe and in myself. Every fiber of my being and any higher power that existed, was making it very prominent that what I was doing in these passing moments, was a part of my purpose. 

Most of the time that I had spent outside on this day, my eyes had faced the streets. I looked at all the broken branches, scattered, unsaturated leaves, and every once in a while, a broken piece of glass glimmered. I spent my time holding the broken branches and the worn leaves. I imagined my touch had the power to nourish them, to give them the feeling you get when you hug your mom after a long, hard day. Then, I put them in the flower bed with roots of the flowers, barely hanging on, so they would have the chance to photosynthesize, too. 

When I had finally lifted my eyes to the sky, the sun was setting. The sky was bursting with clusters of clouds, the color blue that I saw on wine bottles at fancy restaurants, and orange like pumpkins on Thanksgiving. I remember thinking, beauty after the storm. I breathed in the sky. I felt like it was the universe’s way of filling my internal cup back up. As I engaged in introspection, I came to the conclusion that even beautiful things are temporary. Everything is temporary. The pain, the ugly, hugging your mom, rain on car windows…all of it is temporary. For a moment I was relieved, but I also feared that a day where I lost everything would soon come. I didn’t want hugs from my mom to end. I didn’t want my heart to stop tingling every time my love said my name. However, I took a deep breath and when I exhaled, I let the relief be bigger than my fear. I let my feet stay grounded. Even though I knew I too, was temporary. I was not afraid of living; I was not afraid of dying. Time would work itself out, and I was okay with that.

I think I decided to take these steps because I needed to know that I could heal something else, before I ever tried to heal myself. But, what I hadn’t realized, was that following this sense of purpose was a part of my healing. Listening to the universe on this particular day gave me a sense of direction I didn’t even know I needed. I had literally put myself on the path to healing, even though I was scared and thought I only had the protection of myself. I was far more capable than I thought.

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