Our bodies and minds are brilliant at helping us to survive childhood trauma. This is the story of how a little girl protected her heart until she met someone who helped her learn how to trust again.
Ah, if I could tell you all of it. If only I could. But I can tell you this. He never got old.
With a gentle stroke of her cheek, he whispered, shhhh, putting his finger up to his mouth. Mischievous glint in his eyes, taking her hand into his. I’m taking you on an adventure he said. With complete faith, with complete trust, and heart filled with love, she let him lead. She didn’t ask where they were going.
He took her to places she’d never dreamed possible. Places of miracles and magic – and truly, aren’t they the same? Taking her to magical places inside, discovering parts of herself that had remained hidden for so very long.
The different parts of her like little girls hiding in secret places until it was safe to come out.
The youngest, maybe six? How can we know for sure? Hiding in the dark, cowering in the corner all these years. She’d tried to leave, once. The first time a whiff of a feeling called hope crept in under the door. She could smell it, taste it, hear it, almost touch it. Almost. But when she went to open the door to finally creep out, the handle broke off in her hands. She knew then it wasn’t yet time to enter the land of hope.
But ah, when this magical man took her hand, hope was so big it flooded all the places and spaces hidden inside. The cowering little girl trembled as hope pushed open the door and beckoned. It was finally safe to come out, after all these many years.
And hope was waiting as she walked out. Waiting to hold her. Waiting to catch her if she fell. Waiting to teach her how to play. How to spin around. How to jump up and down with excitement. Glorious freedom of being.
Sparkling world of magic and miracles. You just have to know them for what they are.
Let’s call him the Angel of Hope in this story. For this is the gift he gave her. Hope.
And hope gave her the beauty of seeing herself for who she was, reflected in his eyes. Feeling safe to free the cowering little girl who’d been protecting her heart all these many years. Feeling the freedom to know who she truly was. For it was her true Self who’d protected her heart and soul all along.
And when he had to go, he knew he’d given her all she would need.
He knew hope would stay with her, even when she didn’t think it would ever be possible.
He knew she would see all the magic and miracles in life. And know them for what they are.
And before he left, he gave her one more gift. A kiss. An I love you.
He never got old, and he never will.
Debbie Augenthaler, LMHC, NCC, is an author and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City, where she specializes in trauma, grief and loss. Her award-winning book, You Are Not Alone: A Heartfelt Guide for Grief, Healing, and Hope combines her personal story of devastating loss with practical insights and simple suggestions for healing. Join her Facebook community, Grief to Gratitude, and follow her on Instagram.