Surprised by Healing

Thursday, April 29th, 2010. 11:30 am.

I lay on the sanctuary floor, a heap of broken, quivering flesh, having fallen some twenty-five feet from a poorly constructed scaffold. I was having difficulty breathing and finding sufficient mental cogency with which to call for help. After what seemed like a week, emergency personnel were on the scene repackaging my accordioned body for transport. One gal insisted on asking me perfectly sane questions such as “What is your name? Do you know where you are? How many fingers am I holding up?”

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Speak Your Story

Spiritual direction allows us to speak our stories.

Susan Phillips, PhD in her Conversations article Telling our Stories explains the word narrative: to tell and to know.

We all long to be known, understood, and loved. We long to live a life worthy of our calling in Christ, saturated in meaning, and open to healing those around us.

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The Healing Power of Contentment

This morning I spent some time in 1 Timothy. I settled on chapter 6, verses 6-10:
“Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought
nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us
when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But
people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and
harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is
the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from
the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (NLT).

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Buy Nothing Day

Friday November 23 is “Black Friday,” the day sales begin and people shop till they drop for whatever they haven’t got.  But thousands call it “Buy Nothing Day.”  They think this day has been hijacked by commercial forces (as Christmas has). The British Columbia-based organization, Adbusters, initiated this, noting that the average U. S. and Canadian dweller “consumes five times more than a Mexican, 10 times more than a Chinese person, and 30 times more than a person from India. . . Give it a rest.”

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“Please, God, Heal Her”

I have often prayed for physical healing for myself and for my family members. I have prayed for healing for friends and coworkers and church members and for their family members. But for many years I rarely prayed for the healing of my enemies or those in competition with me.

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When Healing Comes Slowly

“Deep work is slow work.  Its only in lifestyles as fast paced as ours that we’ve been able to convince ourselves otherwise.” Michael Gurian

Lets face it: slow healing does not feel like healing.  It’s not laden with that euphoric rush of release, the after effect of a sudden breaking in from God.  Nor does it seem to tell a good story, or at least not an entertaining one.  Slow healing feels more like the S word really.  No, not that one; this one: Sanctification.  That long obedience in the same direction, as Eugene Peterson has put it. But sanctification isn’t quite what we have in mind when we pray, “God, heal me!”

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Healing Prayer and Spiritual Direction: A Match Made in Heaven?

Inner healing is foundational to spiritual formation. Whether healing comes as we open ourselves to God through spiritual disciplines or while meeting with a trained prayer practitioner, is irrelevant. It only matters that it comes. And in my experience, it comes frequently during times of spiritual direction.

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Healing a Distracted Heart

Many years ago, I went through a time of depression and distraction in which chronic pain, health struggles, and pressures at work ganged up on me. I was burned out. I decided I needed a complete break for a few days, so I checked into a retreat center run by a group of Franciscan nuns. The retreat was silent except for mealtime. After a couple of days of self-absorbed despair and aimless inner probing, I sat one lunchtime with one of the elderly nuns. We struck up a conversation. At one point she asked: “Are you here for a time of recollection?”

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Healing of the Body and Soul

Healing is a topic like sex and money in many of our Christian communities. We are embarrassed to talk about it because deep down, we aren’t really sure that it happens any more. We spiritualize it by saying that the deceased is now healed in heaven or that only happened in the early Church. But is that accurate?

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Healing Though Telling Our Stories

Our faith is informed by narrative knowledge, for  stories  help us know how to live faithfully. Telling our stories shape our lives in various ways, and they can promote healing..

Studies have found that recovering from traumatic experiences can be expedited by writing about those experiences for others to read, or speaking about them to others who are listening. Writing or speaking for an attentive other person, turns experiences into narratives. This has a healing effect, as measured in a variety of ways, including auto-immune responsiveness, pain tolerance, and quicker healing time.

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