by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much Grace
All images by Cindy Kunsman and Under Much Grace used with permission
Through daffodils forgotten and found and reclaimed in my recent meltdown, perhaps those reading here can catch a glimpse of how healing from trauma can unfold. In the writing of this, I am almost amused by how spontaneously the whole concept bubbles up in me. I spent many years wondering whether I ever even know joy because it seemed that I’d forgotten because trauma alienated me from the memories of it. I couldn’t find it no matter how hard I tried.
Having already defined my dilemma of moving through the Third Stage of healing in the last post, I feel as though I tackled the integration element well. Moving forward and reconnecting, the other tasks involved in Stage Three, blend for me in what I have yet to work through. I noted an example of a meme that objected liars and gossips as “lowlifes,” yet I wanted to aspire to something better. But I hadn’t figured out how to get to “the high road,” having made the choice to seek resolution of conflict as opposed to perpetuating it. For my own benefit, I wanted and needed to aspire to something better.
Disclaimer: Everyone has to find their own way through their conflict in ways that work well for them, and It’s important to note that not everything works for everybody. I draw on my own supportive beliefs to transcend pain and loss and trauma, though I understand and expect that many people will find their way through such conflicts differently. I also find myself at a point in my own exemplar conflict where I’ve come to terms with my anger and the injustice. I also don’t want anyone to misunderstand this approach as offering forgiveness to people who aren’t sorry for what they’ve done. I do hope to see justice for everyone involved. Taking an approach that avoids marking people as adversaries or that comes from the secure perspective that love can offer shouldn’t be mistaken for cheap forgiveness that ignores justice. (Here’s an index of over seventy blog posts that basically argue that without justice, forgiveness and mercy are meaningless.)
I also stumbled on to an interview with singer Michael Card who recalled an old saying: “You need love the most when you deserve it the least.” I heard that about a week before I read the meme about “lowlifes.” I found myself repeating this phrase that I’ve apparently never heard stated in that way before. And it was working in me.
My mind turned to Corrie ten Boom who I see as probably the foremost expert in making this love thing work. At about this time a year ago, I revisited her writing while pondering hard cases of forgiveness of family members who were difficult to forgive. In chewing on my new dilemma, I recalled another quote of hers that I thought sounded lovely. I felt a bit more inspired by it than I did the last time that I thought about it. I created my own meme, playing on the imagery of both her words, but also using the maze concept that I’d also used to describe how convoluted the process of healing from trauma can be.
Corrie notes that love is painful and difficult when something blocks it. We can hide from that which blocks love, but we deaden ourselves along with the pain of love rejected. But she offers another solution which echoes other well known statements she has made about asking God to take over when our own human love fails. She offers the option of praying for God to open another way for love to get from one party to the other. And that seemed to draw a picture of exactly what I hope for in this conflict.
I also found myself humming an old song that I used to sing more than thirty years ago with Freedom, a small Chrsitian band of which I was a part for a few years. (See below.) I love that it just happened spontaneously and that I had that song and it’s words at work in me somewhere. I’m glad that it came back to me like the words of Corrie ten Boom did to point the way.I don’t know quite how I’m going to get there and whether I will successfully stay on the path. But I’ve set my sites on it as my desired destination specifically in this trying and painful circumstance.
Cynthia Mullen Kunsman is a nurse (BSN), naturopath (ND) and seminary graduate (MMin) with a wide variety of training and over 20 years of clinical experience. She has used her training in Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a lecturer and liaison to professional scientific and medical groups, in both academic and traditional clinical healthcare settings. She also completed additional studies in the field of thought reform, hypnotherapy for pain management, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that is often associated with cultic group involvement. Her nursing experience ranges from intensive care, the training of critical care nurses, hospice care, case management and quality management, though she currently limits her practice to forensic medical record review and evaluation. Most of her current professional efforts concern the study of manipulative and coercive evangelical Christian groups and the recovery process from both thought reform and PTSD.
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