Friday, May 25, 2012

the cracks are showing

Yesterday, I was talking to a friend and she introduced me to the French term "le non dit" which means that which is not said.  One of the theories in certain streams of medicine is that when we repress and internalise traumatic and painful situations, leaving them unspoken and undealt with, they eventually emerge and manifest themselves somehow in the body.  If we run with this theory, then various pains, diseases, and maladies might be related to the dis-ease and unhealthy state of our minds, souls, and relationships. I can testify to the fact that when I have been wronged or have wronged another person and there is tension in my relationships, my digestive tract is affected.

I watched a video this week where a musician was talking about the story behind one of his songs, The Lord is My Shepherd. He said this:

"I think one of the hardest questions I have had to answer for myself is 'What am I going to do with my pain?' because pain is just a reality of life.  I remember going through a really, really dark season. I was flying home from some event, and I was thinking of all the places that I have taken my pain, because I had only recently become aware of it.  And I'm like, oh, that season where I checked out in a television series for a week, yeah, that was probably where I was taking my pain. And I just said, 'Lord, I don't want to do that.  I want to find real healing.  I want to find real redemption in this, and I realise that the only place that I can find that is going to be in you.  And I want to take my pain, when I'm in pain and my heart's hurting, I want to wait on you.  I want to find you.'"   [1]

In our contemporary world, we have so many ways to avoid or "manage" our pain. One of the reasons that the first monastics retreated to the desert caves was in order to come face to face with their demons and temptations, not hiding from their broken humanity.  They recognised that when they brought the place of their greatest need and deepest pain to God, his strong and loving spirit became manifest.  Their concern was not primarily for their physical well-being (which is a bit of an obsession in our current age).  Their desire was to be transparent and honest before their Creator, knowing that he was the only one who could rescue them from their pitiful state.

And perhaps this is the first step in healing:  to admit that we are pitiful, we are sick, we have maladies that we are not aware of, that things are not good.  Theologian John D. Caputo says:

"If we could admit how bad things are, that would be the beginning of something good, of a kind of radical honesty with ourselves. … To confess the wounded, fractured condition of our lives – that is who we are!  And that would be the beginning of wisdom in deconstruction, of something good.”[2]

Yes, let's get on the road to something good. 

the photo:  a cracked pot on my balcony that I tried to fix

[2] John D. Caputo, After the Death of God (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 128.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

yes! Jean Vanier would say we need to be close to our own poverty.

Your first paragraph reminds me of the book "When the body says no" by Gabor Mate M.D. It is a medical book for the layman about how chronic stress (the fight or flight kind of stress experienced as a result of an insecure, unsafe, nurture-deficient childhood) effects our physical health. It's a very good book, I highly recommend it. Even if you had a magically wonderful childhood, there are things to learn about caring for ourselves now.