To the Healing Healers

By Mary NikkelJuly 27, 2020

To the person I was when my recovery began — this is an open letter to you. To the girl who is taking her still-healing arms and stretching them out to wrap around a wounded world, determined that no one should ever hurt the way she has.

My brave soul, you are beautiful as you light on fire with purpose. I can see you taking every single reason you have found to stay alive and casting them out at the vast night, where they scatter and blaze like stars. I see your courage. I see all the questions that remain.

I see you asking what it means if you encounter a darkness in another that your love can’t mend. I see you wondering what your worth is when the best of your brightness is broken and used by those who don’t know how to catch and safely hold all of your sparks like fireflies. And I see your guilt coming to question: Do I have any right to my wholeness when the ones I love haven’t found theirs yet?

There is this wild hope in you that the story of healing is always linear, always clean and clear, that rescue is as simple as a bedtime story told to ward off the monsters that lurk in the dark. That hope is human, and you are no less for having it. But a day will come when you’ll need to let it go. You’ll need to let it go so you can take the hand of the nuanced, many-chaptered story that is living your own recovery while simultaneously walking a journey with others.

Remember what mattered most to you in the dark: not the easy answers. Not the remote platitudes of a dream life. It was simply presence, the hands that took your torn wrists and turned them to the sky, letting them be seen exactly as they were. The best you have to offer others will never be a cure-all method, a one-size-fits-most fix. The best you have to offer will always be yourself.

And the way your heart is received says nothing about its worth. You will be misunderstood, just as you once misunderstood others in your own pain. You will hear words from the mouths of loved ones that come from the pain they wrestle with, not from their heart. You’ll learn to forgive instead of blame yourself. You’ll learn to weather this by accepting that we can do nothing, not even love others, alone.

Oh, my bright soul, you could never accomplish your own healing alone. Don’t let the fear trick you into believing that you alone have to accomplish someone else’s healing either.

What we fight for in recovery is not sacrificing our souls for each other, martyrs crushed by the weight of the darkest parts of another. What we fight for in recovery is the outcome where we all get well, where we live in the song and dance of giving and receiving hope, where we help each other learn what is ours to carry — and what is ours to let go.

No matter how much you heal, you will never be a savior. But you will be a star all the same, one shimmer in a galaxy that illuminates another’s road toward healing.

Leave a Reply

Comments (9)

  1. Joyce M Burklin

    Mary, are these your thoughts and words, or somebody else? Oma Joyce

    Reply  |  
  2. Lindsey

    Could not have found a more comforting read today. I looked at the faded scars along my forearm thinking how much I wanted to reopen those wounds, but hope of better days stopped me. This read too has encouraged me to continue my healing on the inside. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  3. Nat Trav

    Love this. I relate to every bit of this.
    Thank you 🙏🏾

    Reply  |  
  4. liz

    this is a beautifully spun twist of words that echo personal struggle and hope. incredible writing 💕

    Reply  |  
  5. Allison Brakel

    I came to the site to browse the store and this was the first article on the page. The title spoke to me instantly, and I clicked it. I don’t think words can do justice to what this article meant to me. It was like words I was meant to find, shot straight into my heart and my soul. It was exactly what I needed. I’m on my healing path right now, and just the other day, I spent an hour journaling when I realized that this emotion weighing me down was actually the guilt of not being able to help others. The guilt of seeing my family and friends struggle, but not being enough to fix it. It was a heavy feeling to be able to put a name to it – guilt. How can I heal myself, and be on this path, when others around me are struggling so much? To the author, your words helped me more than you’ll ever know. I now realize I’m not alone in this uncharted feeling, and that it’s ok to feel this way. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    Reply  |  
  6. Francyne

    Thank you, from a healer struggling to heal, struggling to be enough, struggling to find some simple way for my somewhat broken and slightly put back together self to keep healing others, struggling with acceptance, and ultimately guilt when I find myself unable to as before. Thank you for sharing these beautiful and powerful words.

    Reply  |  
  7. Meghan

    Oh my gosh these are probably the most beautifully written words about healing I have ever read. Thank you🙏🏻

    Reply  |  
  8. Graviella

    I wish I could have the last paragraph tattooed on my heart.

    Reply  |  
  9. Aimee

    A serious tear jerker for me. Definitely hit me somewhere deep. People are constantly reminding me that I cannot save the world, yet I spend my time helping with all that I have.

    Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.