A little over a year ago, I had the unfortunate experience of skiing knee first into a tree.
In the days and weeks that followed, my body displayed the physical ramifications of this accident in ways I was unable to hide. The physical pain was terrible, but the internal dialogue I battled daily was just as harsh. The voice in my head was unrelenting in whispering cruel messages of self-doubt, shame and fear.
Right when we feel as though we’ve found our groove and know how to masterfully navigate the path we’re on, we hit a tree or patch of ice. These roadblocks come in all forms, really.
It’s in these moments that I am especially terrible at taking the advice I so frequently share with my clients, “Slow down, take care of yourself, listen to the messages your body is sending to you.” It sounds so nice, huh?
However, to admit that I need to slow down, conveys that I am not, in fact, invincible. And I would really like for you to go on thinking that I am.
The advancement of one was inevitably linked to the progress of the other.
But then I hit my first patch of figurative ice, fell flat on my butt, and learned that I was incapable of getting back onto the slopes alone. You better believe I put up a hell of a fight though. Eventually I got back on, but only after accepting the hand of another skier that happened to cross my path.
Inviting someone into the journey of getting back on your feet after a significant wipe out can be altogether terrifying. It requires vulnerability and a willingness to let yourself be seen from a fairly unattractive angle.
But from that vantage point also comes the grace of a new perspective. One that reminds us we are beautiful because of, not in spite of, our scars — and that we might be able to avoid a few of life’s impending “trees” if we look up and marvel at what is right in front of us.
Cresson Haugland is a therapist at Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville, TN.Cresson returned to her college home town of Nashville after several years on Young Life staff and further continuing her education at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.