Years ago, I found myself in a relationship that was toxic. Does someone come to mind when you read that sentence? Personally, when I think about all the people I’ve been connected to over the last decade in a variety of contexts, my interactions with this one particular person stand out. Eventually, the lack of authenticity, empathy, and trust became an ongoing crisis in my life, and I was desperate to find a way out.
By the grace of God, the crisis—and the relationship—ended. I thought all my problems would be over. And that’s when I discovered something.
I didn’t really understand what a crisis was.
Along an otherwise unremarkable stretch of Interstate 45 here in Texas, there was a wildfire a few summers back. If you drive by the field of trees that was ravaged by the fire, as I did last week, you’ll see two things:
The fire is out. But the trees are still burnt.
Here’s what I mean:
Seeing those charred and twisted trunks took me back to the crisis I’d escaped. The immediate relief of putting the fire out allowed me to believe it was over, but I was really just stuck between the first and second step. I wasn’t still burning, but I was still burnt. I was out of the crisis, but the crisis wasn’t out of me.
Yes, it’s important to stop the bleeding first, but that’s not enough. Healing, real healing, is a process we have to enter into after the crisis ends.
It’s an intentional choice.
The process is marked by prayer, reflection, and wise counsel. And over time, our wounds turn to scars.
It has taken time for new life to spring up amid the devastation in that field of trees, but eventually green triumphed over gray. And given enough time and attention, I believe we see the same triumph in the places we’ve been burnt.