I wonder how many of us have experienced healing. To say out loud, “I’ve been healed”, carries a heaviness that many of us are not accustomed to. Of course, since most of us have had at least a few colds and infections, we have experienced some level of healing.
And then there are those of us who have actually experienced healing that’s deeper. We’ve struggled for years with emotional or mental anguish or that persistent digestive discomfort or that deep darkness that holds our soul. We’ve gone to all sorts of health practitioners to find a solution to what most ails us, and in some way mountains are moved, and we are changed. None of us who have traveled this road have the same journey or meet the same forks, but once healed we can look at each other and agree… that was terribly hard but we’re alive nonetheless! We know that we were guided and that we have become better for it.
If as you read this, you find yourself feeling lost on your journey to sacred wholeness, I invite you to read the book of Romans which says to us about this hope and how this works. “We boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” I don’t know about you, but those are a lot of words that have very little meaning to me without examples or an explanation. Sso what I have to offer you today is one perspective, one possible guidance into understanding what this may actually look like if taken at face value. How does healing come and what does Paul, the author of Romans, suggest to us?
I’ve personally struggled with deep, emotional hurt and anger for many years. These feelings not only hurt the ones I love the most, they also manifest in my body in diseases like gallstones and digestive disorders. One of the therapies that I’m pursuing for my healing follows the logic that Paul suggests, and even though at first it seems easy enough, it’s probably the hardest discipline to practice in our face-paced, active society.
I’m not sure if I understand how I ended up experiencing suffering, but at this point in time and for many of us, it doesn’t matter. No matter how we got to where we got to (perhaps by our poor choices or as a dependent and vulnerable child) — we are where we are. So that’s where we begin.
What we are good at in society and church is either telling ourselves that what we are experiencing or thinking is sin and to run from it because it can do us no good. Then we stuff it as far within us as we can while holding up the image that all is fine with the world. The other perspective is of allowing us to run free with whatever whim crosses our minds, and off we go to have experiences that will deaden what we want to have released within us. Either way, we’re running from our hurt and suffering.
What Paul says next is about perseverance – not to persevere in the busy work of not dealing with what’s going on but to persevere in what’s happening within you. Go deep into those emotions — dark and scary as they may be — and persevere in them, allowing them to take you into the valley of the shadow of death but nonetheless accompanied by your Shepherd. In the silence, allow it all to come forward and take as long as needs to be… hours, days, weeks… however long it takes and with the discipline of continually allowing yourself to go.
As I lie on the table with my practitioner, she simply touched and sensed the ways my body communicated to her what I was holding and not releasing. And as I allowed the words to come into my mind and as I spoke the emotions that bubbled up, the sadness and tears flowed. She was quick to help me put aside the “whys” and “how do I fix this” questions that came with the discomfort of my hurt. She simply encouraged me to feel more deeply and be present within myself.
This time can reveal to you what’s truly at the center of your dis-ease. And this time will form the character that Paul tells us comes next in the process. You will be changed by this. For some of us, this process may be done best by ourselves, and some of us need someone safe to sit with us. Whichever feels best and safest for you, please do that. There are no heroes or martyrs in this process.
And the character that is created… the strength and assurance of who we are and who was with us in the darkness moments is how my hope comes. I realize that I was never alone and that it was a supernatural force that got me through those moments of despair and heartache. Survival gives me hope that I have what it takes to endure the next challenge in my life.
Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz of San Antonio, Texas is Anabaptist at heart and in mind, yet her journey has moved her to seek the Kingdom where the church is absent. She walks this path of solitude with her husband, Roberto and their four beautiful children, ages 7 and under. As one of our regular convention bloggers, Janet invites you to open your heart to God’s Greater Kingdom. If you would like to respond to this post, feel free to contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org.