Read this week’s excerpt: “I Was an Invisible Child” here:
I can honestly say that both my parents loved me very much when I was growing up. I can also say that both my parents wounded me when I was growing up. When you put people together in a life, imperfection happens. We hurt one another in ignorance, through thoughtless mistakes, out of our own blind spots and imbalances, and during moments of weakness. We may have the best intentions; then again, anger and insecurity might inspire us to scheme and hurt another on purpose. In addition to all of that, we are living together at different ages and stages. And so the parent, who is wrestling with career problems, does not notice the teenager’s subtle cries for help. Or the child, who heard only snatches of a conversation, interprets those phrases in the worst possible way, and never thinks to ask the adults for clarification.
Years later, we can still remember the day no one listened or helped, and our minds carry echoes of cruel words and cold silences. As adults, perhaps we better understand why such things were said. We have the ability to look back on events and see them from more than the perspective of a six-year-old. But understanding does not automatically result in the healing of old hurts; sometimes the hurt makes no rational sense. Surely I should be over this little incident by now—why, that was thirty years ago!
Ultimately, wounds reside in the spirit, in the deepest part of us. That’s why God must do the ultimate healing. The Holy Spirit can apply grace down through the layers of memory and emotional habit. The wisdom of Jesus can open our eyes to a scene that is larger and more complex than the one we tend to remember on our own. We cannot change the past, but we can invite Creator, Redeemer, and Holy Spirit to revisit the past with us.
It’s important to remember that with God everything is present-tense. We live in time and space, but spiritual reality is not limited by those dimensions. It is possible for God to heal, in this present moment, something that happened decades ago. It is possible for you and me to remember the past but with a mind that has been renewed by Jesus, a mind capable of grasping that memory now in a different way.
“I Was an Invisible Child”—this week’s story from Lyn Doucet’s book (available at right and here)—provides a wonderful example of God healing a wound from the distant past. I hope you take courage from this and begin to re-remember the moments of your childhood that still cause you pain. Ask Jesus to go back there with you.
If you are facing traumatic memories, you might need to make this journey with a counselor or therapist. Modern psychology is one of God’s many gifts to us; another tremendous gift is the right person to listen to you and accompany you on what could be a frightening journey.
Our prayers go with you during this time of healing and hope.
Our exercise this week incorporates some of Lyn’s questions from “I Was an Invisible Child.”
What were the most trying circumstances of your childhood?
In what ways was God present in your childhood?
When you were a child, was there a special place or a particular activity that was a real retreat for you? Can you revisit a similar place or activity now?
To learn more about Lyn Doucet, author of A Healing Walk with St. Ignatius, or explore additional healing resources, click on the tabs at the top of the page.
To take advantage of special savings on this month’s book, use the discount code at right.