Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for November is Healing. This month’s post is offered by Shelley Buss.
Not so long ago, my daughter Haley was single handedly keeping band-aid companies afloat. I can’t tell you how many times I found bandage wrappers on the bathroom floor, under her bed, under my bed, in her closet… Finally I dropped the hammer and said “Haley Bird, unless there’s flowing blood, hands off”. No more Minion on the back of a hand that was slightly pinker after she banged it against the door. No more Queen Poppy on her toe after stubbing it on the chair. She was independently self-soothing the best way she knew how when she felt pain. She grabbed a comfortable character, opened it all by herself, managed the stickiness, and applied her fix; a visible reminder that something underneath wasn’t right, but it also was no longer exposed or vulnerable.
There sure is a LOT of pain and suffering in the world right now. Physical and emotional pain associated with the pandemic, racial injustice that can no longer be ignored, our devastated economy, distance schooling, and of course the political landscape that has turned us into a divided nation. PLUS, life keeps marching on with the “regular” ways in which wounds come; accidents, cancer, the end of relationships, fire, flood…
In the most absolutely infuriating way, pain and dis-ease crack us open, and it’s in these life changing moments that we are given the opportunity to grow and become something more than what we were before. Marsha Linehan coined the term “radical acceptance” which says that accepting the things outside of our control allows us to redirect that energy into seeking solutions for ourselves in our new reality. The important nuance here is that acceptance does not equal approval or that you like it. Life provides some exceptional crapburgers.
Our society holds up stoic strength and independence which can alienate us from others at exactly the wrong time. The more we engage in asking for and giving compassion, empathy and help, the lighter our loads become because we’re sharing ourselves in an exceptionally authentic and vulnerable way. “Sorrow shared is sorrow divided”. Whether an ask for help is simply a prayer, opening up to a person, or finding a support group, people will show up in the most mysterious, unexpected and amazing ways when you let them. And they will lead you to another person or place, a book or podcast, a song or gathering that will be the first of many building blocks you will use to find your bearings and balance in the immediate storm as well as those of the future.
Healing isn’t always the reparation of something, a cure, or peace. Sometimes that doesn’t come, regardless of what we do. True healing is in our minds and hearts. It’s finding our power when we thought we were powerless. It’s defining ourselves in terms that bring peace to our souls. It’s seeing that we have greater gifts and abilities inside ourselves than we thought possible. Band-aid optional.
— Shelley Buss
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees