Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Out of the Sin-Accounting Business

Friday, April 13th, 2018

I was stunned that Good Friday by this familiar but foreign story of Jesus’ last hours, and I realized that in Jesus, God had come to dwell with us and share our human story. Even the parts of our human story that are the most painful. God was not sitting in heaven looking down at Jesus’ life and death and cruelly allowing his son to suffer. God was not looking down on the cross. God was hanging from the cross. God had entered our pain and loss and death so deeply and took all of it into God’s own self so that we might know who God really is. Maybe the Good Friday story is about how God would rather die than be in our sin-accounting business anymore.

The passion reading ended, and suddenly I was aware that God isn’t feeling smug about the whole thing. God is not distant at the cross and God is not distant in the grief of the newly motherless at the hospital; but instead, God is there in the messy mascara-streaked middle of it, feeling as shitty as the rest of us. There simply is no knowable answer to the question of why there is suffering. But there is meaning. And for me that meaning ended up being related to Jesus — Emmanuel — which means “God with us.” We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God’s presence.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. 86

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 12, 2015]

Embrace the Suffering

Friday, April 6th, 2018

You recognize the situation and help yourself not be overwhelmed by the negative feeling like fear or anxiety. You are still yourself. It’s like a mother: When the baby is crying, she picks up the baby and she holds the baby tenderly in her arms. Your pain, your anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get relief.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, quoted in The Wisdom of Sundays, by Oprah Winfrey

Grace Making All Things New

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Grace isn’t about God creating humans as flawed beings and then acting all hurt when we inevitably fail and then stepping in like the hero to grant us grace — like saying “Oh, it’s OK, I’ll be a good guy and forgive you.” It’s God saying, “I love the world too much to let your sin define you and be the final word. I am a God who makes all things new.”

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. 50

Healing and Community

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

The description of the Gerasene demoniac was one of someone who was completely isolated, who was out of control and alone and in pain. And if being out of control and alone and in pain was what the demon wanted, then it makes complete sense that the demon feared Jesus. Because in these healing texts, Jesus does not just cure people’s diseases and cast out their demons and then say, “Mission accomplished.” He’s always after something more than that because the healing is never fully accomplished until there is a restoration to community. People are healed of disease, and then he tells the folks just standing around watching to go get them something to eat. The widow’s son is raised from the dead and then he gives him back to his mother. And here the man healed of demons is then told to stay with his people and speak of what God has done. In the Jesus business, community is always a part of healing. Even though community is never perfect.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints, p. 88

Forming a Grievance

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

There are very few instances where the long-term use of anger will be of help to you. I want to make clear, once a situation has passed, both the long-term naming of angry feelings and the expression of anger rarely lead to good results. Anger can be a wonderful short-term solution to your life’s difficulties, yet it is rarely a good long-term solution to painful events. Anger is simply our way of reminding ourselves that we have a problem that needs attention. Yet too often we get angry instead of taking constructive action, or we get angry because we do not know what else to do.

It is my contention that the long-term experience of anger, or what we call a grievance, is almost never helpful.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 14.

Open Ourselves to Love

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

People often think that love should be all sweetness and light – but the truth is, love frequently hurts. When we open ourselves to love, we also open ourselves up to being hurt. So many of us have learned from the time we are children to harden ourselves, to lock away our love for fear of being hurt. In locking away this love we make ourselves and our world much more coldhearted, selfish, and sadder. In locking love away deep within us, we diminish our humanity.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 2

The Forgiveness Channel

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

It saddens me to see countless people who fail to pay attention or be grateful to those they love because they are either thinking of people who have hurt them or feeling sorry for their loss. Let me make one thing clear. I am not saying to ignore problems in your life or deny that people have hurt you. What I am saying is that focusing too much attention on a hurt makes it stronger and forms a habit that can be difficult to break. I am saying that you do not have to dwell endlessly on the painful things in your life. Dwelling on wounds gives them power over you. What you remember, or focus your attention on, can be shifted in the same way that you can change the channel on your TV. If we get used to watching the grievance channel we are likely to see that the world has many grievances, but if we get used to watching the forgiveness channel the world can begin to look very different.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 9-10

Amnesia

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Happiness, healing, and forgiveness are all about remembering who we truly are and what we have come here to do. As we join with other people, we begin to see no separation, judgment, or fear between us; we remember ourselves and our oneness. Amnesia means that we have forgotten who we are as children of God, which is the very thing that would fulfill us and make us happy; we are all amnesiacs. We are the spiritual prince and princess of a kingdom we left long ago. We have forgotten that we have a rich Father.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 263.

Broken Places

Friday, October 13th, 2017

The places where we feel most broken often don’t need to be fixed. What they need is to be heard.

— Ken Page, Deeper Dating, p. 71

Thorn in the Flesh

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

He asked God over and over to remove this thorn, but God said no. God said that grace and mercy had to be enough, that nothing awful or fantastic that Paul did would alter the hugeness of divine love. This love would and will have the last say. The last word will not be our bad thoughts and behavior, but mercy, love, and forgiveness. God suggested, Try to cooperate with that. Okay? Keep your stupid thorn; knock yourself out.

What was the catch? The catch was that Paul had to see the thorn as a gift. He had to want to be put in his place, had to be willing to give God thanks for this glaring new sense of humility, of smallness, the one thing anyone in his right mind tries to avoid. Conceit is intoxicating, addictive, the best feeling on earth some days, but Paul chose instead submission and servitude as the way to freedom from the bondage of self. Blessed are the meek.

We don’t know if Paul was ever healed of his affliction. I do know that being told I could keep my awfulness made holding on to it much less attractive.

— Anne Lamott, Hallelujah Anyway, p. 133-134