"I had that feeling you get—there is no word for this feeling—when you are simultaneously happy and sad and angry and grateful and accepting and appalled and every other possible emotion, all smashed together and amplified.
Why is there no word for this feeling?
Perhaps because the word is healing and we don’t want to believe that. We want to believe healing is purer and more perfect, like a baby on its birthday. Like we’re holding it in our hands. Like we’ll be better people than we’d been before. Like we have to be.
It is on that feeling that I have survived. And it will be your salvation too, my dear. When you reach the place that you recognize entirely that you will thrive not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them. That you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them. That you have the two empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to fill them." ~comment from Betrayed Wives Club member
Healing. We talk so much about it on this site. Those of us further along on this journey leave our popcorn trail for those coming behind us to guide them to healing. We assure them that, even on days when they feel utterly hopeless, healing is somehow magically taking place within. That as long as they're not actively holding on to pain, healing will occur. That time will work its magic, though they can hasten it by taking care of themselves, by establishing clear boundaries, by finding support and compassion.
When you're mired in pain, however, healing can seem about as real as Oz. Believing in it can feel like being asked to drink the Kool-Aid. Like many who first arrive here, hearts shattered, I couldn't imagine a day when I wouldn't be in agony, when the mention of a certain name, the make of a certain car wouldn't leave me fighting tears. Healing, I thought, didn't apply to betrayal. It didn't apply to me.
Which is why I loved the comment (above) left on this site. It perfectly describes healing. Not some place of bliss and beauty ("like a baby on its birthday") but instead emotions laid bare, feelings raw but with our hearts still open.
That's what healing has meant for me. Like an alcoholic who will never refer to herself as recovered but always as recovering, I am healing from infidelity.
I would never have chosen this, nor would I wish it on anyone. But it has been my particular fate to have experienced it and it has changed me, I believe, for the better. Like my Betrayed Wives Club sister has so beautifully articulated, I realize that it is not in spite of but because of my sorrows that my life is richer. That I love more deeply. That I am able to stop sometimes and smile at the beauty I have in my life, all the more precious because, for a while, I lost sight of it.
Your healing might look different than mine. But all healing shares one thing in common: Gratitude. When we can feel thankful not for the pain necessarily but for the wisdom and compassion it engendered, we can recognize the healing within ourselves.