As part of our participation in the Soul Matters program, each month our church community will be exploring the same theme together in Worship Services, in Religious Education Classes, and in our Small Group Ministries (which are also kicking off this month.)
Well this one certainly seems easy to answer: it takes work. To be a community of healing requires dedication and a willingness to dig in – to fix what’s been broken, to listen away each others’ pain, to battle the bad guys and gals, to ask forgiveness when we are not the good guys and gals we so want to be. So yes, it is easy to remember that it takes work.
But what if we just as easily remembered that it takes perception and sight as well?
Or to be more exact, what if we remembered that healing always begins with perception and sight?
Would we more easily remember that time we were blessed with the experience of looking through each other’s eyes? It wasn’t a perfect view. We weren’t able to see or understand “the other” completely. But we were at least able to see them differently. And in doing so, the healing began.
Would we more easily remember the first time we felt seen? And how that made us want to give that gift to others?
Would we more easily call to mind those moments when we were able to see our “enemies” in their wholeness? Those moments when our frames of them as all bad and us as all good gave way to the truth that they are as complex, fragile and flawed as us. Would we more easily tell the story of when we first realized that we were part of propping up the system? The system that subtly and not so subtly gives some a hand while keeping the hands of others so securely tied behind their back?
Would we more easily remember what happened when we confessed our lie or admitted our addiction? How when we stopped trying to hide it from the sight of others, it somehow loosened its hold on us?
There was a magic in all this looking, seeing and being seen. Remember that? In each case, we learned that healing is not entirely up to us. There was an otherness at work. We just got the ball rolling. We weren’t “the healers”; our wider view simply set the stage. Opened the door. Healing then slowly made its way in and joined us as a partner.
And seeing healing as a partner – rather than solely as a product of our will and work – we were able to be more gentle with ourselves. We realized that manageable steps and doing what we can were just fine; heroics didn’t always have to be the way. We were able to put down the weight of the world for a while, knowing and trusting that healing had a life of its own – that it has the ability to grow and take root even while we rest, maybe even because we took the time to rest.
In the end, maybe that is the most important thing to remember this month: besides always beginning with a wider view, healing also means making room for rest. Too often being a community of healing gets reduced to a matter of work, vigilance and never letting up. So we need these reminders that healing is a partner, not simply a product of our work.
Maybe even trying to partner with us right now…