“When you come to the edge of all that you know, you must believe one of two things: there will be earth to stand on, or you will be given wings to fly.” – Author unknown

Today is my first day back at work after three weeks of spending time with my beloved as we search for healing following his suicide attempt. It’s good to be transitioning back into some form of “normal”, but I have to admit, the ground still feels a little shaky under our feet. Healing doesn’t happen overnight.

I feel a little like what I imagine earthquake survivors must experience – you can’t quite trust the ground anymore. Who knows when the aftershocks will come?

At the same time, though, there is something strangely invigorating about re-building when the metaphorical earthquake has left your foundation unrecognizable. You don’t assume the same things are rock solid anymore, so you factor in more flexibility. You realize you have to re-think old patterns, so you look for better materials on which to build.

Gradually you learn to trust the earth once more, and when it shifts again, you’re more ready to move with it. You enter the dance of change more readily when you’ve learned to bend at the knees.

Though he doesn’t know it, and wouldn’t admit it if you pointed it out to him, Marcel has been my teacher these last few weeks. He is spending a lot of time re-thinking old patterns and habits. He’s reading, he’s learning, he’s talking to wise teachers, and he’s practicing what he learns.  He’s trying to find new foundations and new ways of thinking and being that don’t result in the same tragic results. He asks honest questions, and he doesn’t get angry when he doesn’t like the answer. I’ve seen an openness and vulnerability in him in the last few weeks that is remarkable and awe-inspiring. In a family that has never been given to much sharing of emotions, he’s learning to say “I love you” to his siblings. With a personal history of never being able to accept a compliment without turning it into a joke, he’s practicing saying “thank you” and trying hard to believe it. He’s even learning to set aside pride, shame, and stubbornness to say “I need help”. Those are all lessons I can learn from.

We are growing as a family. Our daughters are watching him and they are learning new habits through what they see modeled. They’re watching both of us, and through it all, I believe they’re learning what it takes to build relationships, trust people, grow, adapt, and be strong while still admitting to weakness.

Slowly but surely, beauty is emerging from the ashes.

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