She wiped the tears away from her black-lined eyes. “It’s just so hard. It’s my friend’s wedding and I’m excited about it, but I hate how I’m going to look in my bridesmaid’s dress. And those are pictures people are going to keep, going to look at. And I hate how I know I’m going to look.” A pause, and more tears. “There’s nowhere else I can say that. No one else who gets it. But you get it.”
Around the table, heads nod in agreement. “We get it.”
They get it. That’s the beauty of the Rock Recovery treatment group: each week, a group of women and men who get the complex battle of eating disorder recovery gather around the table to share the support, love, and encouragement that only come from a shared struggle. For those wrestling with disordered eating, which can be incredibly isolating, being in a room with others who really do get it can be life-changing.
While we may not all struggle with disordered eating, we all have points of pain and brokenness in our lives where we long for someone else who gets it. Whatever the causes of our hurts, disappointments, and frustrations, feeling alone only makes them worse. We want people who can nod their heads and with love and compassion say, “We get it.”
The great good news of Christmas is that God, in Jesus, has offered us the ultimate “I get it.” In choosing to be born as a helpless baby to ostracized parents who lived in a forgotten town under imperial oppression, the Creator of the universe chose to subject himself to the pain and brokenness of the world as we all experience it. In being fully human, Jesus can say, with profound truth, “I get it.”
And in being fully God, Jesus can also say, “I’ve overcome it.” The story of Christmas is incomplete without the story of Easter as well. In rising from the grave, Jesus demonstrated that none of our pain and brokenness will ultimately have the last word; instead, life and freedom and wholeness will. God identifies with us and has compassion for us in our struggles. At the same time, God is committed to helping us triumph over the forces of bondage and death that try to keep us in those struggles. Because of Christmas and Easter, we know that God says to us, “I get it. And this is not the end of the story.”
In this Christmas season, may you know the comfort of the presence of a God who gets it, and the hope of the power of a God who has overcome it.
Erin Bair joined the Rock Recovery team as its first chaplain in the fall of 2015. She is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America and has previously served in parish ministry and hospital chaplaincy. Having known many people affected by disordered eating, Erin is grateful to get to support Rock Recovery’s clients, helping them to know the freedom that God’s love and grace offers them. Erin grew up in Georgia and attended college and divinity school in Boston. Nine years into living in the DC area, she’s convinced she’s found the best of both worlds. In addition to working with Rock Recovery, Erin is a speaker and retreat leader and is training to be a spiritual director. In her free time, she loves to read, cook, hike, and spend as much time as possible in Arizona with her nieces and nephew.