What Binds Us Together
After my dad died, some 13 years ago now, I experienced a particular prolonged grief that dove into my physicality. The effects were challenging and compounded, and I learned in a definitive and profound way that my body could not be disconnected from my mind and my spirit. Grief represented just one layer in the stack. Dad’s passing was, however, catalytic to everything that followed–the wounding and the healing.
About three years into the quest for wholeness, I made a phone call to a health and wellness clinic. I had consulted with the physician a couple of times, but for the most part, it was the office staff that gave direction for on-going support. On a cordless telephone in my office/laundry room, I shared my questions and commentary with a female consultant. She listened until I finished. Then she said in a kind but direct manner, “You know, Shannon, you’re not the only one to have ever experienced this.” I felt blood rush to my face, like the sting of a swift slap. Her words hurt. I said a few more things, then I said thank you and hung up. That phone call changed the direction and the momentum of the healing process. With a new determination, I turned to face my crap and kick it into order or into oblivion, pile by pile. I didn’t dial the clinic again.
That conversation comes back to me from time to time. It doesn’t sting anymore. She said what needed to be said, what I needed to hear whether I wanted to hear it or not. It might not be what I would have said in the same situation. Perhaps her words to me came out of a place of her own pain, a struggle she was facing that day or in that season of her life. Regardless, she said something true, and that truth tells me things about walking through healing.
You can not know my pain and my struggles. I can not know yours. They are our own. The manner in which an arrow comes into your heart, mind, body is not the manner it enters mine, not exactly. In that way, I can not understand completely.
On the other hand, you know the arrows that have struck you. They pierced your skin, sometimes down into the deep and hidden places. Me, too. You are on a road to wellness and soundness. Me, too. You are a human who cries and laughs and longs for shalom. Me, too.
Our troubles and pains and heartaches are unique. Our stories belong to us. Jesus tends to each of us, with intimate care and individualized attention.
Those same bleeding places are not unique. Some common strands weave through your story and my own. We are connected. At the very least, we share our humanity. We need each other to cry with and laugh with and pray with while we walk the road.
In my healing journey, I relied on people to keep calling to the true elements within me, buried and forgotten things, shattering and glorious things. I surrounded myself with others who gave me words of life and pointed me to the Healer. The wounds of that season manifested in unexpected ways. So did the healing of my body, my mind, and my soul.