John is a friend. He is also a massage therapist that is experienced in Rolfing; an approach to healing developed by Dr. Ida Rolf. Often known for its painful intensity, I have come to see the positive side of this massage discipline. In the middle of a powerful session, I asked John why a particular part of my neck hurt when he touched it.
“Have you ever had an injury in this area of your neck?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“Your body remembers. Something within has not fully healed. The injury from the past is still with you, especially in your heart and mind. You may think you have moved on, but somewhere within you has not.”
I accepted the observation tentatively at first. My way of testing is validity within myself was to reflect on the potential source of pain points as they occur. I am not suggesting that this is a universal truth, however it is true for me. When something hurts, unless there is an immediate cause, my being is reminding me of something in my past. Life frequently invites me to seek healing if I am interesting in leaving the pain behind. I can trace the times I have accepted the invitation as well as those occasions when I did not.
I have been reminded of the importance of John’s observation and healing by recent events. To the various sources I would note that “your sharp-pointed arrows of rebuke draw blood; my backside smarts from your caning.” (Psalm 38.2) They hurt! The stings – deserved and not – have left marks on my physical being as well as my heart. The challenge now is two; how will I respond and how long will it take to heal?
I would gently observe that the questions are interlinked with each other. They may seem like two but experience reminds me that the answer to the first determines the possibility of the second. Said another way, how tightly I embrace compassion and forgiveness will, for me, determine if I progress beyond physical healing.