Do the Work
I began seeing a holistic practitioner in the early days of the healing journey. Some things did not work in my physical body, and I sought his help to address the symptoms. I learned first thing that I could tackle the physical manifestations, but the most effective tactic for the long haul would be for me to begin integrating my body, mind, and spirit and look toward becoming a whole person.
It was as if someone hammered a mile marker by a tree, and further on by that rock, and then by a bridge stretched over a ravine. This notion of the inner connectivity of all the systems redirected how I walked the next several segments of the trail. Month after month, I asked questions and read books and made changes and paid attention to my thoughts and emotions, and I prayed. I re-learned my own self, regained strength in damaged tissues. Little by little, progress came. Noticeable changes took place.
About three years into this arduous trek, I showed up for my regular appointment feeling positive and hopeful. The doctor told me that my immune system remained weakened, that we needed to adjust the protocol.
I felt my shoulders slump, my posture changing with the weight of his words. He saw my disappointment.
“You still have a way to go,” he said, “there’s work to do.”
It didn’t seem appropriate to cry, but I wanted to. It was as if I was looking back on the path I’d walked so far, relishing the views from the vista I’d reached. With a few words, he grabbed my shoulders and turned me around, pointing to a bend in the trail that required me to walk another 5,000 feet at a steep incline. I don’t recall for certain, but I likely went home and ate some large sample of all the forbidden foods and said a variety of cuss words.
Work remained, in all levels of my personhood—mind, body, spirit. I needed to press on.
Only God knows when I turned the corners in that part of my story, but it was somewhere in and around the eighth year. From the time my body locked up until it worked fluid again, my hand remained on the plow.
What preaches to me every day from that time past is that I must do the work. Until I die or until Jesus steps his feet back on this earth to restore it once and for all, I don’t get to stop engaging in the work.
God heals, but God invites me to learn, to get my hands in the dirt of the process, to get to the roots. And when we get there, I watch Jesus apply the balm.
Not always in the ways I would like, but God indeed restores. God asks me to lean in and learn. “Watch Jesus. Listen to my Spirit. Give me your whole heart, your whole mind, all of your strength, the core of who you are,” God whispers.
When I lack understanding, when communication breaks down, when grief presses in, when restoration opportunities present themselves—I am invited to commission my whole self and grow. When outward symptoms present themselves, when my check engine light goes on, when I keep hitting the same walls and nothing changes—I can seek counsel, consult a medical professional, meet with a spiritual director, cry with grace holders and truth tellers.
The road is long. No doubt. But beauty waits for us. Wholeness is worth the work.