Reflectionary

That Way Lies Healing

Driving #1 Son back to school after Fall Break, I told a story about
sitting in a clergy group and being encouraged to do a little role-playing. One
of the others in the group would portray God and bounce my questions or
thoughts back to me. But when it came time to ask the question, I found I
couldn’t put it into words, or rather that I was afraid to say the words out
loud. I told #1 Son I was afraid of getting it wrong somehow, as if I were
unusually wimpy for feeling that way. “Yeah, mom,” he responded, “because
everyone else *loves* making mistakes!!” 

The Princess brought home a progress report the other day, and on it
was a comment that reminded me of conferences and report cards for her brothers
when they were younger. Each one of my children has been encouraged to
volunteer more, to raise his or her hand and give an answer or share a thought
with the group. More than one child in my house responded to these suggestions
indignantly!! “Why would I want to share what I think with those other kids?” #1 Son once said. “If I sound smart, they’ll hate me for it!” 

In The Princess’s case it is the French teacher who is urging her to
speak in class. This makes sense to me, since part of learning a language is
learning to speak it. Yet I understand her hesitancy. 

Some times we hesitate to speak up because we wonder what
other people will think. And other times we hesitate because we are afraid of
being wrong. What if we say <le tête> instead of <la tête>? Those
darned French nouns! Why do they have to be masculine or feminine? If I just
sit here long enough, someone else will answer and I will be safe! 

That was my reason for sitting quietly in classrooms long
ago. Even in seminary, I worried about those courses where a portion of the
grade was for class participation. I’m an extrovert, and sometimes I don’t
really know what I think until I’ve heard myself try saying it out loud. That’s
great if I agree with myself!! But it’s not so great if I hear the words and
have second thoughts about them.

I go back to my experience in the clergy group. Certainly my
friend and colleague was not actually God; what about the encounter made me so
anxious? 

Bartimaeus
I think I might have been afraid of getting the real God’s
attention. How would it feel to stand right in front of Jesus and hear him ask,
“What do you want me to do for you?” After all, if I answer the same question James
and John and Bartimaeus did, I might be healed of all the afflictions of
relationship or history or personality or resentment that form my comfortably uncomfortable
existence!

I might be called to travel the road to my own Jerusalem, to live
through challenges for God’s sake that most of us would just as soon avoid.

But that way lies healing. Healing comes when we are
willing to give up the things we expect and the things that we love and even
the things we don’t like in our lives. Healing can only come when we answer the
question. What do you want God to do for you? God is waiting for your answer to
the question.

10 thoughts on “That Way Lies Healing”

  1. Beautiful.
    The flip side of learning to speak up, is learning to be quiet so that others may speak.
    And, to think before we speak.
    Thanks for this post.

  2. What a beautiful, insightful post.
    I always look forward to reading your writing. Somehow it always speaks to what I’m wrestling (or should be wrestling) with at a particular moment.
    Thanks for this!

  3. … oh i really understand you when you talk about not knowing what you think until you speak it out! I often surprise myself like that!

  4. This is very interesting. As a teacher, I think a lot about how much it is OK to expect or nudge people to talk, and how much it is OK to expect or nudge people to be quiet. It’s a tricky balancing act, and this will help me think again how to approach some of the students I’m working with now.

  5. Healing comes when we are willing to give up the things we expect and the things that we love and even the things we don’t like in our lives.
    Truer words have not been written… thanks Songbird.

  6. Ouch
    A few nails driven smartly home here, Songbird. I’d say thank you, except I’m not sure what to do with the stuff this has raised…Well, ok, I know what I should do, but doing it, aye, there’s the rub.

  7. Wow. That’s some interesting stuff since I’ve always thought my major battle was about shutting up and listening. But there’s also that Enneagram 5 part of me that wants to keep quiet if I’m not sure I’m right. I love what this post is causing me to ponder.

  8. Songbird –
    Beautiful post. We just read the story of Bartimaeus in Bible study (and in church this past week, as you know), and I never really looked at that “What do you want me to do for you?” Thanks for the new twist – and the thoughts it has provoked…

Leave a Reply