Healing Amongst Celebration

Baby showers. Wedding showers. Birthdays. Weddings. And so on, and so on.

I’d always heard about women who, struggling to have babies, cried tears of dread going to their best friends’ baby showers for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time, yet they still would get dressed up and then sit through the cake, punch, dumb games and presents, holding in the tears like a water hose with a kink in it building up for release.

I see women do it constantly. Not admitting their own frustrations and deep heartbreak, they put themselves in places which pour salt on open wounds at full speed ahead.

I never really understood. I’d only celebrated. I never hurt when it was time to celebrate.
I’ve sat at wedding showers for some of the most incredible and truest friends I have ever known. I’ve cried big ugly tears driving to “celebrate” and I’ve collapsed in the arms of the bride’s mother and listened to her speak truth to me right there in the middle of her own daughter’s celebration. I’ve cried the tears. The last place I want to be quiet frankly is close to anything wedding-related.

And I’m sure some of you stop and think, “How rude! Just celebrate and get over yourself. Not every day has to be
about your life issues…”

But I just don’t think that’s authenticity. Yes, there is a line of being an emotional disaster 24/7 and hurting in places that once were the source of your greatest dreams and joys.

I’ve ridden in the car home from weddings with my parents and cried tears and listened to them say over and over “this is not the end”. I’ve listened to my own Dad tell me once again how He loves me and is not about to let the story end broken, “No, we have a great hope and a faithful God who never lets us walk alone.” I’ve sat on the floor in my parent’s house with Father’s arms around me and sobbed. Sobbed like the world was ending, because in reality, it sure felt like it stopped turning.

I tell you. It hurts to heal amidst others’ celebrations. It is not fun and every step you take into that party or wedding ceremony feels like a leap of bravery. It is in those tears that flow like a river, when you sit amongst broken hopes and dreams, that you heal the most. When there is salt in the re-opened wound, this is when you learn to wash out and sew back the rips. Stitch by stitch, memory by memory.

It is the mother of that bride, during her daughter’s celebration, who wraps up the brokenness and shows me I am learning something that not everyone is privileged to learn. Learning to trust that healing does come, even if pain is felt during the celebration of others. Because that mom, she has hurt and healed amongst the celebration of others. She sings victory over salt in the wound, heart on the ground. It is an out-of-chest kind of hurt and healing.

I’m privileged. Honored really. I am grateful to hurt and heal amidst others’ celebration.


Melanie Slates



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