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Beside Restful Waters

by Greg Hermann

“If we are not transformed by our pain, we will almost certainly transmit it to those around us, and I am learning that we pass it on to future generations as well.”

Fr. Richard Rohr

Since 1776 when we were established as the United States of American, we had experienced 20 years WITHOUT being engaged in a war.

We are a nation of trauma and only since the Vietnam war have we as a nation given credible attention to the post traumatic emotional agony of war.

Where can we turn for peace?

Where can we turn for healing?

Is there truly a Divine source?

Those of us who are searching for answers to questions such as these hear the same answer repeatedly.

Look within.

Find what is in our heart.

Be still.

There are many more suggestions and directives, but I continue to hear the same core message: Look within.

My first challenges in response to these instructions were frightening and painful as my head exploded with a list of events that I preferred to avoid and deny. There was also a strange phenomenon that accompanied this experience: This search within was surrounded by people who were on the same journey.

We found ourselves on common ground:

Our lives had traumatic experiences that locked us inside of fear and pain.

We had met others who had similar histories of fear and pain.

We met others who came to know acceptance and love.

We met others living with hope.

We met others who did not judge us.

We met others willing to share our journey.

I looked within and found a village under re-construction. We found a village in transformation.


How were the villagers transforming their pain?


Pain, by any other name, is still pain, right?

How is transformed pain so different?

I think of a broken arm or a severe laceration. Each requires direct attention and evaluation by a skilled healer of fractures and lacerations. Each requires an intense and skilled intervention. Following that intervention, I have a responsibility to continue the treatments – dressing changes, medication management, exercises to get function back, maintenance to keep the skills..... All of these interventions involve a variety of others, a village if you will.

The scars may remain visible. The minor aches and pains may continue. Neglect of my healing responsibilities reminds me of my need to be diligent in my healing practices. Often the pain never goes away completely.

My beloved villagers, we have accepted a huge responsibility with and for each other. We are living the miracles of transformed pain which I cannot put adequately into words. We are slowing the transfer of crippling pain and fear to our future generations. We are building a community that is changing our world and the worlds around us, one village at a time.

Next week, I would like to delve a bit deeper into our methods. Meantime, I am at greater peace with my fears and pains as they are no longer crippling me. I am resting in our village square – beside restful waters – on a mountain peak – or where ever you are in our peace.


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