There is no greater love we can ever share with another BEing than sharing space and spending time within their suffering. Giving them the chance to BE authentically themselves, especially in their time of need, is very much walking the healer’s path.
Since Jesus’ time, physical healing has dramatically changed due to significant scientific advances. Today, we walk into medical clinics for the relief of physical pain and suffering. When we have emotional or behavioral problems, we talk to professionals who specialize in alleviating mental health crises. We also walk into sanctuary spaces of all kinds to find comfort for our spiritual woes.
But in our modern age and with all our scientific advances, we still have not fully grasped the depths of what it is to – “HEAL”.
What’s in a Word?
Growing up, I had great difficulty learning the meanings of words. Part of my difficulty was learning English in a Spanish household, and another part was a real lack of challenge – school was boring. So let’s begin this traipse with an agreed basic understanding and definition of the word ‘heal’. From the “Online Etymology Dictionary” on the word, “heal”:
Old English hælan "cure; save; make whole, sound and well," from Proto-Germanic *hailjan (source also of Old Saxon helian, Old Norse heila, Old Frisian hela, Dutch helen, German heilen, Gothic ga-hailjan "to heal, cure"), literally "to make whole" (from PIE *kailo- "whole;" see health). Intransitive sense from late 14c. Related: Healed; healing. Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of heal. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from https://www.etymonline.com/word/heal
So accordingly, heal means to “make whole.” Great – but on the same definition page I saw something that caught my eye:
Entries linking to heal health (n.) Old English hælþ "wholeness, a being whole, sound or well," from Proto-Germanic *hailitho, from PIE *kailo- "whole, uninjured, of good omen" (source also of Old English hal "hale, whole;" Old Norse heill "healthy;" Old English halig, Old Norse helge "holy, sacred;" Old English hælan "to heal"). With Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of heal. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved April 2, 2022, from https://www.etymonline.com/word/heal
Do you see it? “Old Norse helge ‘holy, sacred…'” Now, I know I’m one to stretch things a bit and sometimes to extremes but that one caught me off guard, and in so doing, it filled my soul with hope and happiness!
Whole, Sacred, and Holy
Imagine for a moment you’ve not been well for a long time. You’re wandering aimlessly wondering how you’re going to get better. Suddenly a person runs up to you and tells you a great teacher is nearby. Your heart and soul begin to race – you’ve heard this person can heal.
Without thinking, you make your way to the place where the teacher is speaking, and your heart breaks. An ocean of people stands between you and your objective. Slowly, work your way closer until at last, his tunic is barely within reach.
You stretch out your entire body to touch his tunic and suddenly feel – different – as if your entire being is vibrating with joy and love. The teacher stops talking to the crowd, turns their head and looks lovingly into your eyes, and says, “your faith has healed you.”
Your life is forever changed!
Fast forward to the present. A person has cancer. The doctors tell them it doesn’t look good but they give treatment a try. Over time, treatment succeeds and they are eventually pronounced in complete remission. Their life is forever changed!
So, too, is giving another person sacred space – and by that I mean the security to be, at that moment, their true authentic selves in whatever context. Whether the person is laughing or crying – providing a safe place to be themselves is healing and holy.
Finally, when a person is dying and begins their reunification with the fabric of the universe; when they transform back to the dust from which they were +Created; when their spirit returns to the +Creator – that, too, is a whole other kind of wholeness.
Being “whole” is so much more than taking care of our bodies – and even in taking care of our bodies, wholeness is more than just going to the doctor or eating the right foods. It is also having an awareness of the space our bodies fill on this earth and the impact we have on our ecosystem – it is our whole system of BE-ing; mind, body, and our connection to the world outside ourselves (or spirit). Wholeness is balancing with all three aspects of self, just as the Holy +Trinity is in balance.
There is, ultimately, only one +Healer: the +Creator, but the +Healer acts through all of +Creation – through you and me, the rich and poor, the suffering and joy-filled.
Healing in a Broken Age
Today we hear streetcorner preachers bashing all sides; the left and the right of society, and everything in between. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Self-proclaimed prophets preach vitriol and detestation for anything outside their deluded perceptions. People are lost and at their wits’ end. How, then, do we provide healing to so much brokenness?
We help others heal by providing individuals with the space to be their authentic selves while at the same time loving them unconditionally. That doesn’t mean loving the actions or injustice – it means loving the BEing. Then, gently and with the utmost love and respect, nurture whole-being-ness and help bring them to an awareness of their impact on the world around them. If they are physically, mentally, or spiritually ill (or any combination thereof) then we help them find competent care while still holding space for them to be authentically themselves.
If, however, we are unable to be present to another person’s needs, then we help them find those who can. We do NOT engage in gossip, hatemongering, or other forms of destruction – we instead love and HEAL, as our +Christ instructed.
If the person chooses to remain fixed in their ill-health, then we, like our +Christ, continue our journey onto the next person seeking health and happiness. However, we do NOT engage in hatred for the person stuck in their own mess. We continue to love and pray for them – we help heal from afar. Healing in this broken age is not so much about fixing someone else. It is about first recognizing the sanctity of the entire being – including our own. We must transform our lives so we may become models for the world around us. But make no mistake – if we, the healers, continue to exist in our own brokenness without personal transformation, then we become the instigators.
Healing in this day and age is no different than it was at the beginning of human evolution. Healing begins with the recognition that something is out of place. That does not mean it is right or wrong, it simply means that something is out of balance and needs tending. Our +Creation is an incredible balancing act of biological and psychological aspects. We are so much more than just a collection of cells. We are one cohesive being – the Body of the +Christ.
Let us, as did the ancient Norse, remember that healing is wholly holy and sacred – and so, too, must we be as we travel alongside those seeking the +Creator!