Discover more from From Streets to Scholarship by Terence Lester
Healing Takes Courage
Counting Down to the Release of All God's Children
As I reflected on the past year this morning, I couldn’t help but think about how different things were. Exactly one year ago, I was discharged from the hospital, uncertain if I would ever walk again.
I vividly remember coming home and realizing we had to rearrange our lives—setting up a hospital bed downstairs and finding a wheelchair for me to navigate my physical therapy sessions.
My emotions were all over the place, and I quickly realized that healing would require a fight, hard work, and the courage to be vulnerable, even in public.
I contemplated hiding my suffering from the world at times, but my therapist presented a challenge that shifted my perspective. During one of our sessions, he urged me to focus on the potential for post-traumatic growth, not post-traumatic stress.
Hesitant of this new language but also wanting to move from a disoriented place to a new oriented place, I listened.
Post-traumatic growth (PTG) encompasses various aspects of life—beliefs, relationships, self-perception, and outlook. It's about discovering inner strength and resilience, acknowledging that I can overcome challenges and cope with adversity. It's about appreciating life's preciousness and making the most of every moment.
My therapist understood that acknowledging post-traumatic growth didn’t negate the distress and challenges of the trauma I had gone through. Instead, he emphasized the possibility of finding meaning, resilience, and personal development in the aftermath of adversity—a new orientation.
People of faith would say it this way, “God gives a testimony after our tests…”
And that's exactly what I did—I leaned into my grief to grow and heal more.
When I wanted to give up writing, I wrote even more. When I felt like quitting school, I found strength and joy in using my mind, even when my physical mobility was limited due to living with a temporary disability.
I found healing through expression.
I became passionate about growing through and from what I had endured in a hopeful way. I found myself most days dealing with pain but also yearning to discover hopeful pathways to healing and to utilize my vulnerability as a source of encouragement for others.
There were moments when progress seemed elusive, and the path to healing felt unreachable. However, I kept showing up and found the courage to persevere, facing each day with an unwavering determination to confront my pain and embrace vulnerability.
Now, one year later, I was able to physically walk into a Barnes and Noble store in Morrow, GA, and I learned the book I had poured my heart into during a time when walking seemed impossible would grace the shelves in physical B&N locations.
Upon sharing this information with the store manager, she became acquainted with my story. She extended an invitation for my first book signing at the same Barnes and Noble on Juneteenth.
It was a moment of overwhelming turnaround. Tears welled in my eyes as I thanked God for my decision to lean into courage and embark on my healing journey—post-traumatic growth.
As I reflect upon my personal growth and healing journey, I realize that this book holds far more significance than mere words on paper. I can’t believe that I am seven days away from its release, and I know that it is a testament to the fact that God is able still honors the courage it takes to heal—even if that healing doesn’t take us back to who and what we once were.
I learned that showing up wasn’t about striving for perfection but embracing my truth and being honest with where I stood on my healing journey. It meant acknowledging the scars and accepting the challenges that were before me.
Through this process, I discovered the immense power of authenticity and vulnerability—the ability to connect with others on a deeper level, share our stories, and find solace in a supportive community—my family and a few friends.
I am eternally grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement that surrounded me during those trying moments, but most importantly, I am thankful to God for never leaving me.
If you are thinking about taking steps to heal, I will encourage you with this, healing takes courage, and that courage is inside you.
If you want to attend the book signing on Juneteenth because you are in Atlanta, you can sign up HERE.