i closed my eyes and saw a tree; a big, beautiful, and full tree. only this wasn't just any tree. this particular tree symbolized something.
the trunk represented the pain i was feeling at the time, having just found that my mom was going to lose her battle with cancer.
the branches represented my thought process through it all; the fear, the worry, the what ifs, the compassion i felt towards my mom, and the unfillable void i knew i would feel once she passed away.
and yet, my eyes were drawn to the roots.
at first glance, i saw the strong and unshakeable root from which i draw life and strength from: my relationship with Jesus, my anchor, the One who keeps me going in life, and keeps me grounded.
upon my second glance, i saw the few (unhealthy) things which i let take root in my life; seeds of insecurity that derived from my life-long battle with depression, my fear of abandonment, and the most crippling one of all, my unrealistic expectation of others.
and here's what all of this taught me.
there's a time to focus on our pain and a time process what we're feeling and experiencing because of it, but there's also a time for uprooting, because, well, no matter what your source of pain is at any given time, each root has its way of breaking through the soil and rearing its ugly head in the most inconvenient and unattractive way.
but how do i start digging, i wondered? and how do you?
by picking up the tools - in this case, a shovel - and putting in the work.
for me that meant finding a good counselor, retraining my brain to focus on the positive, saturating myself in the truth, reminding myself that people can only do so much, acting accordingly, and praying (a lot) to the One who can reach even the deepest part of pain, loves me even at my worst, and promises to never leave me nor forsake me.
and you know something? though it took a lot of hard work (and still requires work to this day), i really dig this whole digging thing, because it works!
i expect less from my friends, i no longer live in fear that people will leave me, and thankfully, even though my depression episodes are less frequent and less intense these days, i've come to accept the fact that this, too, is part of my journey.
today, a beautiful tree sits on the dresser in my room as a reminder of my healing process, the time i closed my eyes and first saw the tree and what each part of it represented, and all of the work i have had to put in to become a healthier me. only now when i look at this tree, i don't just see a big, beautiful, and full tree, i see a big, beautiful, and full life, and a heck of a lot of growth.