Sunday, November 28, 2010

Healing: part 1

Blue Flower

The Post tonight and the post tomorrow are from a sermon I gave last year.

Part 1
 We all need to be healed.  Some of us have physical issues.  Some of us have emotional issues.  Some of us are trapped in bad situations.  Some of us are trapped by fear.  Some of us may be trapped by the inability to let go.   
I am sure there are many other things I have not thought to list here.
I do know that we are all wounded.  We all need healing from time to time.  Every single one of us. 
In the 1980’s I had the good fortune to work for Elizabeth Kubler-Ross at her Foundation for Death and Dying in New York City.  I took several weeks of intense training on what it meant to be dying, what a person goes through, what feelings they might have.  I learned about the Five stages of Grief:  Denial, Sorrow, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance.  
I was given exorcizes to practice on what it might feel like to lose part of your body, or to lose control of it, because that often goes along with dying.   I learned that having a disability is like a ‘little death’, especially if you contract the disability  and you remember what it was like before.
And I learned there were related issues having to do with all sorts of disabilities.    For instance, well over 80 % of marriages fail when a child with disabilities, especially mental ones, is born into the family.  For other folks, contracting a disability is to become isolated from the rest of the world, because even well-meaning family and friends often forget about you when you can no longer participate the way you used to.
I learned lots of things I’d rather not know.
After the training, I was assigned to the Projects in lower east Manhattan.  I was frightened at first.  In real life, it is not nearly as attractive as they show in TV.   The elevators seldom worked and the stairways were really narrow, dark and scary, and they always smell terrible.   But when folks are dying, they need someone, no matter where they live.

The Foundation talked a lot about ‘Healing’.  That may sound strange, speaking of healing to a dying person.  Yet I have seen it.  I am not talking about   “Curing” but  “Healing”.
‘Curing’ would be when your troubles go away.  Most of us do not experience that.  But Healing, ah, that’s different.  I would strongly suspect that a number of us have experienced Healing. 
Healing is Inner Peace, A Calm Strength,  Facing Reality square on, with no anger or fear or sadness, acceptance of What Is.  It is knowing the difference between what we can change and what we cannot change.   It is letting go of fear and sorrow.  It is when we have a profound sense of Emotional Well-Being.
The lessons from the Foundation have relevance to just about every part of life. 
Anyone here who has gone through a divorce, for instance, will recognize the Five stages of Grief:  Denial, Sorrow, Anger, Bargaining,  & Acceptance.  And you also know there is no order to them, nor do you do one and get over it.  Rather, you slide around, maybe feeling anger, then sorrow, then acceptance, then denial and back to anger again. And it just keeps on happening over and over again, no order, no promise of relief, a roller-coaster of emotions, until we might begin to feel numb---only to be plunged back into the morass.  And it happens in so many areas of our lives: losing a job, having a serious illness, or any of a hundred other things.
So we are stuck, all of us, with the problem, of how to heal ourselves of whatever life brings us.

For those of us with a physical disability, sometimes more than anything else, it is annoying.  Things that used to be easy are now beyond our capabilities, or perhaps we can do them, but it is a real hassle.  My friend, Anne, used to be a social worker who specialized working with the blind.  She worked with folks who used to be able to see but lost their sight. 
Can you imagine that?  The obvious things are not being able to drive or read, having to buy special, expensive equipment to use the computer or internet.   But there are so many other things as well.  Not knowing where you are if you get turned around or get off at the wrong stop, not knowing what time of day it is by looking at the sky, not seeing what your children look like as they grow. 
Loosing your hearing?  Another devastating issue.  Talk about isolating!   
And so it goes.  Many of us here can speak first-hand to what it is to have physical disabilities.  It is not fun.
But there are other things that need healing too.  The healing of the heart.  Many of us have suffered losses other than physical.  The death of a loved one, or the death of a cherished dream.     Or when someone has wronged us and we feel the victim.
That pain can be carried within us, silently, throughout our lives.  We deal with it, but we are not healed.  Health is inner peace.  We are not at peace.  Healing is letting go of fears, sorrows and pain of loss, but we carry the pain with us.   It seems too heavy a burden to put down.
But a person who is whole does not carry extra baggage.  So, how to put it down?

To Be Continued Tomorrow . . . 

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