Hurting When We Are Healing

I’ve thought a little bit about healing over the last few months. About physical healing and also spiritual healing. What motivated me to write this post was when I heard on a secular podcast the quote, “So many things can be true at once.” It struck me that I often only believe in ONE way or ONE Truth at a time... but there are so many moments in life when there are pluralities. For instance, last February I had a hysterectomy. It was a long time coming and I was at peace about having the surgery but had no idea what I was in for with the recovery. Heck, I am a strong woman... I’ve had 3 C-sections and bounced back from those just like a champ. So when I got home and was unable to even really go up and down stairs by myself, I was not only disappointed in my body but also frustrated with how much I needed to rely on others for basic things. It was true that I was healing and it was true that I was in pain.  


This made me think about how spiritual healing can sometimes be both necessary and painful. While we travel towards a holier life by letting go of past grievances, relationships, or even traumas, we are also going to experience some pain. In many cases, that pain is tangible, palpable; we wear it like a garment. Far too often, I am surprised by how long it takes for me to actually surrender this pain and allow God to work in me. My hysterectomy took over three months to fully heal. It wasn’t a linear progression with each day being a vast improvement over the last. There were set-backs. I had an infection that needed to be tended to and lots of other times where I pushed too hard and paid the price the next day. Pushing too hard is a common theme in my walk with the Lord. He leadeth me and I shove Him from behind to go faster, farther, take a turn that looks promising to me. He is steadfast and I am a steamroller.  


But healing won’t be rushed. It must run its own course in God’s own time. And the crazy part is we can be falling apart on the inside and simultaneously mending up our brokenness. So many things can be true at once. For me, it comes in waves. Coming out of COVID has brought on another wave for me. I have often felt that so much ugliness came out of people during these last 18 months. Like Pandora’s Box was opened and the contents were full of hatred and anger. So much anger. And so not of God. I’ve been on the road to healing some of the thoughts and emotions that have stirred in me over the pandemic. I’m trying to reconcile myself to living among people who I call friends and family that feel very differently than I do about public health. So many things can be true at once.  


Anne Lamott talks a lot about how she is in the “third third” of her life. If that is true, then God willing, I am in the “second third” of mine. Which allows me a bit of distance from my youth. Like I’m on a hike but not too far that I can’t look back and see where I began. And where do we begin? I’m not sure I have any truly enlightening words on that, but I know most of us, wherever we are in our journey, have caused pain or been afflicted with pain along the way. I mean, we come out of the womb crying, not laughing. Might I suggest that we ask for God’s healing in the places we have too long glossed over or not given rightful attention. That we ask Him to work a great mystery in us; a way forward.  


When the task feels daunting (and believe me, it feels daunting so much of the time), I remember I do not travel alone. That no matter how much healing the world needs, we have the answer in the Great Physician. And maybe our healing will come both individually and communally. Maybe the pain will be great but His grace will be greater. I know, because as Chance the Rapper reminds us, “I know I ain’t leavin’ you Iike I know He ain’t leavin’ us, I know we believe in God and I know God believes in us.”

Written by the Holy Rukus