No one ever talks about how painful healing can be. The word conjures positive connotations, which makes sense because you’re like, “getting better”. But the process - the road to “better”- is often so messy, ugly, challenging, awful… and I feel like I never hear about that part. Maybe I wasn't listening, but in either case, I missed it. Due to my Christian upbringing and countless hours spent in Sunday School, when I’ve thought of “healing”, the quintessential image I get is of Jesus walking through the streets “laying hands on the sick to be healed” (Somewhere in the New Testament). As though he’s walking around with a magic wand – except for instead of a stick, he’s using his hands – touching everyone as he goes by and they’re suddenly getting healed. Not unlike Oprah at the end of a taping: “and YOU get healing, and YOU get healing, and YOU get healing!”
Who knows, maybe that is how it happened. Jesus touched you and that very instant you felt better. The more I think about it though, the more I look at how healing has happened in my life and lives of people around me, the more skeptical I am of this microwave brand of healing. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a case of healing happen instantaneously, be it physical, mental, or emotional. I’ve seen it come as a process – a super slow, sometimes super painful process depending on how deep the wound is or how long it’s been there. So I’m like how many people touched by Jesus still walked away in pain or afflicted? How many of them didn’t see their healing come to fruition for months or years afterwards? If we’d included follow-up surveys in the Biblical canon, how could that have changed our perception of what healing is?
After my first trauma therapy session, I wrote to my best friends to tell them about it. One of them responded enthusiastically saying “Wow. This is healing!” This is healing, I thought. I mean she’s absolutely right, 100%. But as I considered it I was like, wait… healing feels like shit. If this is healing, I want my money back! I feel sad, I feel devastated, I feel crushed, I feel overwhelmed; I thought “healing” made you feel better, not broken. I’m thinking it’s like when the doctor has to break your bones to reset them so they heal properly. Technically the breaking is part of the healing process as well, but it did not heretofore fit into my cute Sunday School picture of what healing looks like.
It’s not magic. It’s not characteristically fast, and it might even involve causing further injury. The beginning and the middle can feel like someone’s broken all of the bones in your body. Healing can be complicated and chaotic, and leave you feeling absolutely spent. I mean in the end, they call it healing for a reason though right? The middle might be the worst but eventually it’s supposed to get better. So I guess we’ll just hold on to that through the breaking. It gets better, It gets better, It gets better.