By Mohan Karulkar: 11921436166_e6405ba11b_n[1]My son is used to seeing burned houses.  They're everywhere in Detroit. It's easy to get numb if you're not careful.  My son, who's 3, doesn't have an opinion one way or another. They're pretty interesting to him though, since there really isn't any blight in our town, even though it borders Detroit directly. That's just how Detroit is. One block things are great, and the next not so much.

My son calls them "broken houses."  He points them out when he sees them, and asks about them when he knows we're heading out to church. Our church is in the heart of the city, and all roads lead through at least a few blocks of rough neighborhood.

This past Sunday, though, he said an interesting thing from the back seat.  He said, "the houses don't look broken anymore!"  Why?  Because they're covered in snow. We've been getting slammed in Detroit this winter (who hasn't?), and everything has been covered in snow for what seems like over a month now.

I could have let it go, but I'm kind of a hard case, so I broke it to him that they're still "broken." They just look normal because the char is covered in snow.  I think he got it.  It's easier for him to move on since he doesn't think of families or broken hearts or any of that other real life stuff.

The snow really is quite pretty, there's no denying it.  But even in my own backyard, under that pure driven snow lurks something unpleasant.  For me it's piles of rotting leaves I never got to.  They'll still be there in April, soggy and smelly, killing the grass underneath.  For the broken houses, it's caved-in roofs, melted siding, and charred beams.

I've felt like a broken house before.  Just a shell with a caved-in roof.  I spent almost a decade like that.  I smiled a lot.  That was my snow.  I guess it still is, sometimes. Underneath was a lot of that junk that snow is so good at hiding.

I didn't get better until I got rid of the snow.  If you can stomach the metaphor, I came out into the sun and let it melt away.  Then I started rebuilding the house.  The roof still leaks, but it's habitable, which is a step up from once upon a time.

If you want to get better, you need to pay attention to your snow too.  As long as you're using something to cover up your brokenness, you won't get better.  You'll just be a broken house covered in pretty snow.  And the longer you've covered up your hurts, the longer it will take to thaw out.

You've come here, which is a good start.  You need a safe community if you're going to get to melting.  For me, it's been my Freeway group.  We finished the program weeks ago, but we've forged bonds that have outlived the written material  (a first in my life).  So, maybe that's a next step for you too.  Or, maybe you just want to tell your story.  Here are some next steps to consider:

  1. Join a Freeway group and establish your safe place.
  2. Think about what your "snow" might be, and commit to getting rid of it. Share the revelation with a trusted friend.
  3. Don't feel pressured to fix the house all at once. Give yourself time to heal.

Tell your story below, and maybe we can start rebuilding together!

Mohan Karulkar runs the blog around these parts.  Email him at mohan@potsc.com to share your story, or find him on Twitter to share a high-five. Photo credit