Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When memory is fenced out, greater maturity may be fenced in

The Apostle Paul and Post-Traumatic Stress,
From Woundedness to Wholeness

 “Morose” sounded to Annelie as if it had come from the French; “dour,” I thought sounded Scottish. If he ever stopped at a playground the children probably would have said, “He’s no fun.” My mother would have whispered, “If that man ever smiled, I’ll bet his face would crack!” He and Annelie had been acquainted for years; if she had occasion to call him he was always pleasant but always feeling down and had little personal  to say.

This time he admitted he was bored and seemed to want a conversation; Annelie is not only a gifted listener, but knows how to smooth the way to it. She mentioned our book on PTSD; the talk shifted to the post-traumatic.  An emotional life can go numb with overwhelming events, but there are still other possibilities.

As it so often happens, as you undoubtedly know, he shifted to a humorous story: a funny thing happened one day when I was talking to an occupation soldier holding an automatic weapon… That sort of humor means a door is cracking open. Pretty soon he was speculating that maybe he should write up his life story with all those things that happened to him as a kid – the kids today just don’t know what we went through…

Then a beautiful thing began to happen as they talked. His correct pronunciation slid aside and the dialect grew and grew of that area in which he had been brought up. Surprise. The more he told of what had been – “you just lived it, there wasn’t anything else you could do,” the lighter his tone actually became, the more pleasant he sounded. 

Based on her experiences as a social worker and counselor, she wondered if he and his family had ever talked about those early years, so filled with deprivation and fright. For so many of us there is a time like the clogged drain in the bathroom of a home. He closed their talk with thanking her; I felt as she told me about that call she also wanted to thank him, too. Hearing that sort of thing is, as I experience it, being like Moses and wanting to take off my shoes because I am on holy ground. 


An unusual thing has happened in response to these blogs. There have been hits from quite a number of countries, a little more than forty, I believe. The interesting thing is, however, that in about half a dozen countries the hits cluster in groups of eight, three groups of eight in one country. It is almost as if there are discussion groups forming via the internet.

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