Praying for Healing
As a student of counselling psychology, some of my papers require me to put words to my bizarre childhood experiences. The problem with choosing adequately descriptive words is that bizarre is the most precise portrayal I can use. Semantics lack sufficient description for birthing kids, milking goats, bathing in a river, living in unfinished construction, cooking to last a week, stockpiling dry goods, teaching myself algebra, catching pigeons, eating a raw potatoes so much better with salt, homemade bread, homemade clothes, a wringer washer, and no TV. I have a deep desire to share my childhood with you; and also, there is a gulf between what words convey, and understanding. I just want to be able to describe the joy and heartache in even one detail.
And then it strikes me – I’ve been hearing this exact sentiment for years, “Just hear what I am trying to describe. Just listen. There is no way for you to understand except through my explanation.” Individuals who are black, indigenous people, people of color, the disabled, caretakers, non-binary individuals, immigrants, individuals involved in the legal system, the elderly, the terminally ill, and so many others, have repeatedly plead to be heard, for their experiences to be acknowledged.
Why has the pleading proceeded so long without reward? I fear it is partially because listening requires patience on the part of the hearer; making space and time for conversations that build new mental frameworks. It, also, takes painstaking vulnerability to describe a reality to someone who has never experienced it. The hearer must put forth a concentrated effort, maintaining openness to ask clarifying questions in order to fill in a picture of the other’s life. It takes committed and continued communication to heal the rift between the two. Yes, healing occurs in pursuing understanding and communicating the value of what another has experienced. Healing occurs in us, and in others, and as a result of previous healing in us and others; a beautiful swirling of one’s healing strengthening and enabling healing in another.
Lord, may I listen with patience and curiosity about the experience of others. May I create time and commit energy to listening, clarifying, and understanding the experiences of others. May I begin to see what I don’t understand. May I be part of a community healing the rift between peoples on the opposite sides of a chasm. May I be part of a community that heals the rift, which builds a bridge, through listening, through working towards understanding. May I be part of just such an amazing movement of healing.
We are aware of the magnitude of this subject matter and the inadequate brevity of this post. For more, please reference our podcasts, our 1Community groups, or feel free to email us at Uniquelythesame@mission1race.org.