In my memoir Leesa I speak of what led me to search for answers to why we experienced such emotional suffering and what could we do about it. Relevant here are the following facts.
When I was a child the most significant adults in my life were in immense emotional pain. The mother trapped and then swimming in bitterness and rage, the father unable to the very end to be more than a victim.
At nine, abandoned in a catholic orphanage I was surrounded by children in intense emotional pain, as a result of their adults’ emotional pain. And I experienced and then witnessed pain for many years.
So I studied and practiced and lived to rise out of that pain, to understand the causes, and to find genuine paths that could release us. That could heal and integrate trauma and that could lead to a more flourishing, happy life.
But to my sadness I learnt that all the wisdom of the ages was but a drop in the oceans of reality and some folks were too scared of the hope of, or the work required, to heal.
Even more sadly, I learnt some we have no wisdom yet too heal. And so I wish we could heal like Jesus.
Marg, who looked in the mirror one day and started screaming and didn’t stop; at least for the eleven years I knew her; as she watched her face shrinking. We couldn’t stop this hallucination, we couldn’t stop her anguish. And daily, as we entered the ward to have her cling to us, crying and begging for help to stop the shrinking, we also had to deal with our complete inadequacy to help and all that raised for us.
Rach, a twenty-six year old woman I counselled in prison who looked fifty but had an inner girl of frightening fragility. Shot up with heroin by mum at seven, dealing by ten, serving time at eighteen and ever since on and off. Desperate, trapped, wounded.
Sue, my client that suicided, done in by too much pain, too much hurt.
Last week a local family lost their third son to suicide, all in the past eighteen or so months. Severe schizophrenia.
Always suffering hallucinations and intrusive frightening thoughts despite being given so much medication it was hard to walk straight.
Living in a community that tenses at even the appearance of mental illness. That prefers it is ‘kept over there’. That doesn’t want part of the emotion, the need, the non-conformity.
A community that is uncomfortable with even ‘appropriate’ expressions of emotion is never going to welcome any oddness. Kevin Rudd here in Australia the other day, ousted from his job as Prime Minister, chocked on his tears in a press interview. And then mentioned he was more embarrassed by this than anything else. Sigh.
So many times I have wished that when I touched someone with my hands all their pain, their suffering would be gone. Wished that my own hope, my deep care, my own strength would somehow be transferred in that touch.
But I had to learn that not all hurt can be healed. And not all people are ready for healing. But still I wonder.
Accepting ‘the healing power of hands’ to be anywhere between myth and a rare ‘enlightened’ ability, I still wonder if we could be doing better for ourselves and each other than we are currently doing.
Could we ponder for example here in Australia why crying is unacceptable in public where as berating kids with yelling insults seems the standard.
Shhhh, quiet down, settle down, shut-up, stop that blubbering, stop being such a cry-baby, wimp, mummies-boy, sook… But when our teens get agro we don’t get why?!
Could we ponder why we leave our oldies at home alone day in day out despite knowing their loneliness? Did you know that approximately forty percent of our oldies here in Australia are depressed?
Could we ponder why we prioritise that appointment rather than stay with a friend who needs our shoulder?
Could we ponder why we ignore the cries of the children, the homeless, the starving, the bullied, the mad, even that person on the street that clearly needs someone’s help?
Could we ponder why so much time is spent chasing money whilst our relationships suffer, including the one with ourself?
See I’m wondering;
Whilst acknowledging that there are some things we cannot heal,
Some magic we cannot do,
I’m wondering if we applied a little more attention to ‘emotions’,
A little more ‘caring attention’ towards each other (whether we are related or not for surely we are)…
…despite whether we have a dogma to motivate us or simply like Shakespeare believe in each individuals value…
Whether if we all at least tried to improve, to give of ourselves to each other just a tiny bit more…
…we might in the end…
…be able to heal like Jesus.