How Do We Heal?

Today was another fine day. I was productive and I wasn’t depressed or anxious. I did experience random bouts of intense sadness that last only a few seconds to a few minutes.

I made phone calls. Sent emails. Ran chores. Met with a good friend. I read and read and read. I relaxed by wargaming. It wasn’t a bad day.

Today towards the end of the day a question bangs around inside my head: “How do we heal? How do we become whole?” One could also phrase this, “How do we change?”

I think we are becoming who we are. That is, our identity as we are meant to be. It is not that God wants us to be less than we are but that He calls us forward to be more than we are – to be what we have always been meant to be.

So, every step of healing is also a step of change and every step of change is also a step of healing. Some wounds are more visible than others – we know when and where they were inflicted upon us…others are intangible – passed down biologically from parents to children across the millennia.

There are a lot of ways I have read about to heal, that I’ve been told would heal me, and ways in which I have sought to bring healing to others. Four major ones are:

  • Sit with your pain, feel it, understand it, probe it. When you know it, you can over come it. [Here we attempt to make time stretch out, each minute is used to its fullest to analyze and understand]
  • Distract yourself from the pain, over time the pain will alleviate on its own. Time is what changes us and heals our wounds. [Here we attempt to fast forward through time]
  • Take a break from life – rest, be still, enjoy life. Simply take some time to recuperate. [Here we attempt to rest in time]
  • Just get over it, give it to God, and get on with your life. [Here we attempt to dissociate each increment of time, insisting that what happens in one instant need not affect us in the next]

There is some truth in all of these. [Though know if you are telling someone the last one, in the majority of cases I will feel a strong, burning desire to punch you in the nose – hard.]

I have had different perspectives help me at different times in my life…but the further along life’s road I get the more complex the interplay between perspectives become. I am in a vast swamp attempting anything to get out and when I finally do I can’t tell you how. Did I try this and that? Yes, yes, I tried it all! Which worked? None of them, all of them!

There is a certain is-ness to woundedness which goes beyond the tangible, explainable, definable. It may be part of what C.G. Jung called theĀ numinous. It cannot be analyzed, only experienced.

I don’t want to go into this in depth – but I think there is an intense interplay between caring and responding. That is, if we hope to heal our own woundedness, or the woundedness of others we must see and hear what the wound and the wounded is telling us and adjust our care accordingly.

This is also a dangerous path. In order to understand the wound, we oftentimes have to experience our own wounds. This is painful in and of itself, but it can also result in acting out of hurt places rather than love…and perhaps most frightening of all, it can result in offering love with the best of intentions that is false for the wound/wounded.


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