Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I fell down on one little word....

Our new pastor is working to develop a composite of spiritual gifts within the congregation.

So, on Sunday, he handed out a short survey which we were to complete.  If we answered honestly and appropriately, we should have been able to ascertain exactly where we fit into the the Church.

Now, this isn't a new thing for us - Jeff has taught classes on helping people work to discover their spiritual gifts and how to apply their passions to serving one another within the local church.  We've taken so many of these over the years, that we could almost do them blindfolded.  We know where we stand, we've worked to correct our weaknesses and strengthen our strongest points.  (For the record, I'm destined to do bulletin boards for the rest of my life.  Public speaking, in any way, shape or form - is out.) 

I cruised down thru the checklist, most of them were easily answered - for me, at least.

One question under the heading of "Compassion" stumped me, though.  It went something like this (but not exactly, because I'm not looking at the questionnaire:)

"I enjoy gently helping and guiding others as they move from woundedness to a place of health and healing."

I wanted to put a 10 on a scale of 1-10, because really, I do.  I am thankful whenever God can use me to help someone through a rough place.  Often, that is exactly what He asks me to do.  He's equipped me for it through trials and tough times of my own.  He's made me emotionally strong and has given me a tender heart.  (It's all Him - like everything is - so I feel okay with saying this.  Everything good in me is from Him.  I'm responsible, alone, for the failures.  And there are plenty.)

But I could only give myself a 6 on compassion.

And it's all due to one little word.


I've seen woundedness, and anger, and pain.

And healing from any of those things?

It's anything *but* gentle.

Whether you are the one in need of healing (emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological...) or the one walking alongside....

Healing - and the full process - is brutal.

Healing means you've got to stir up pain.  It means you've got to scrape off the dead stuff.  It means you've got to try to walk on limbs that have been cut open and cleaned out.  Sometimes healing means jump-starting a heart that thought it had stopped beating, stopped feeling - long ago.  Sometimes healing means confrontation.  Sometimes, it means honesty.

It may not be gentle, but health is always worth it, and walking the path with a friend is much better than walking it alone.


  1. Ahh, Holly, I almost had to weep because you are SO right about healing being such a brutal process at times. And I know you've been through enough to know that first hand.

    But I think you do deserve that 10, and here's why:
    While the process itself might not be gentle, YOU in fact, are. See, the question was "I enjoy gently helping and guiding others as they move from woundedness to a place of health and healing." YOU are gentle, you DO gently guide.

    The question was not "I enjoy helping and guiding others as they gently move from woundedness to a place of health and healing." See? ;)

    So, the 10 is yours, from my point of view, and I suspect from most others whose paths you've gently come across as well. :) *hugs*

  2. I agree with DarcsFalcon on your deserving that 10 - so well written and explained!


  3. Ohhhh. I'd like to claim that. But I have to many people to keep me honest.

    So often, when you walk with people thru healing, you have to get in there and be willing to stir things up, and sometimes you risk making a person mad enough to get them to the point that they want to live and fight to live. I don't like that part at all.

    Sometimes, it's not like that...and it's just brutal on the one doing the healing. But if you love them, and feel with them, there is nothing gentle about that either.

    But if you can keep the big picture in mind - and hold reality in one hand but hope in the other - it is so worth it.

  4. Well said. You reminded me of this part of *The Dawn Treader*:

    "Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

    The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.

    Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I was smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”

    -C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

    When I read your comment, "Public speaking, in any way, shape or form - is out," I thought, "That's what Moses said too." :-) I kid.

  5. You got me thinking....Does that mean tough love can't be done gently?

    The beauty of helping someone through a time of healing is you are on the outside. God allows you to see a bigger picture of the situation and often guides you to the right path to help the one you love out. Doesn't make it easy and is certainly not a gentle process no matter how I try to look at it.

    So, yes, I would have gotten caught up in the word, too. But you certainly deserve a 10 when tough love is concerned.

    And when thinking of who I would want to help me get through healing, love always wins. No matter how tough. Regardless of how gentle. :)


  6. Meliss - wow. That's such a beautiful description of a painful (but necessary) process. Thanks for reminding me of it. That's just how it is, too.

  7. Nikki. Hmm. Good question.

    What do you think?

    I think that yes, tough love can be done gently - but it doesn't always "feel" gentle. Sometimes, you don't see the love until after the healing has begun.

  8. Holly --

    Great stuff. Funny how we read and interpret this words in our lives.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.