My son has this little stuffed bear. He’s been through some rough times. By rough, I mean that the dog has savagely attacked him and torn out his eyes, on multiple occasions. Every time this happens, my son brings the bear to me, and when I eventually get around to it between working, feeding children, and walking the savage dog, I sew on some new button eyes. This bear must be on his fourth set of eyes. This is a broken little bear.
Recently a dear friend of mine had an experience like that – the kind of experience that leaves you broken. My heart has been aching for her, as I’ve struggled for words of comfort to help her begin to heal. You see, the whole idea of actually healing from an injury this terrible can seem like a cruel lie. When you have been hurt so deeply that you feel as though your very fibers are torn asunder and you are plunged into darkness, the truth is, you can never be the same.
For example, you know how when mothers have miscarriages, sometimes well-meaning loved ones will say “It will be okay. You can try for another baby.” Yeah. No.
Loss is loss, whether it's losing a baby or experiencing any other trauma. It cannot be erased, or made up for, or made “good as new.” These experiences change us. I don’t want to lie to my friend by telling her otherwise.
But here’s the thing. In time, the darkness will fade, as we are somehow given new eyes to see. They will not be the eyes we started with, and this may cause us to see things differently.
This funny little bear came with shiny, spherical eyes, complete with pupils, in a warm golden brown color. Now his eyes, at least for this month, are a very bright robin’s egg blue. He has also had his face reconstructed with some tan felt. We will never be the same as we were.
But here’s the other thing: my son has a 3DS, an empire of Legos, and several other things that modern kids love, but it’s the bear he loves the most. This worn old bear gets tucked tenderly into his own special spot to the side of my son’s pillow every night. I doubt that any level of injury could change that. My son is pretty steadfast.
I think it’s the same for my friend, and for all of us. The goal is not to claw our way back to where we were before tragedy befell us. The goal is to wait in the darkness, and, eventually, learn a new way of living and being, as changed people.
Many of us are broken bears. Brave, soft, broken, repaired, broken again bears, who are deeply, unwaveringly, loved.
Kassia Walcott is a Texas Licensed Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, and lover of mothers, babies, children, animals and nature. A homeschooling mother of three, she lives in Plano with her family, pets, and herb garden, where she loves to read and drink too much coffee.