I recently watched a movie that provided a powerful metaphor for this journey we’re on as we continue to heal and grow and do our part to become all we were created to be. “The Monuments Men” tells the true story of a crew of art experts as they recovered works of Italian and European art stolen by the Nazis in World War II before Adolf Hitler destroyed them. Not only was it a great story, it mirrored my view of how we must intentionally use our tools to search for the treasure buried beneath our trauma, and that as we do, we can continue to heal and grow because of this journey.
Read more: Tools for Your Search for Treasure
Forgive me if you find that title offensive. You may be thinking, Who is she trying to fool by using the word treasure in reference to my trauma? Well, it took me time to get here too. Years passed before I began to recognize that indeed I had actually gained many gifts because I endured the ripping, agonizing, life-altering plethora of losses I lived through in 2004. And now, far beyond that beginning of a journey that would shape the remainder of my days on earth, it continues to this day. The losses included my marriage; my ministry; my home; most of my friends and colleagues; and my health. But now I realize my trauma chest actually holds beautiful, wonderful treasures too. Gifts that I would have never been given were it not for this painful, wretched, yet amazing journey.
Read more: Finding Treasure In Your Trauma Chest: Intentional Grieving
Because my father was a minister, I grew up knowing how “normal” clergy (and their families) really are. Yet as a teen I could see how some, especially women, in our congregation placed my dad on a pedestal. They seemed to make him their spiritual idol; the “god” of their faith. But now, decades later, as the media increasingly reports, we are seeing spiritual leaders of all faiths topple and fall, and when they do, those who have placed their hope in mere mortals often lose their faith along with losing their spiritual hero. How I wish I could sit with Dad and have an in-depth discussion about this reality. But I’m going to have to wait until eternity to have that discussion because he’s moved on to heaven without me.
Read more: Is Sexual Struggle A “Normal” Part Of Being Human?
Some of our readers know that I am walking with my mother, who is about to turn 90, through the painful and difficult valley of dementia. There are times I share a tiny bit with my groups so that the emotion I am carrying these days won’t get in the way of group process. I’ve learned emotion shared in a healthy way with “safe” people” is a good way to then “put it away for now.” It’s a form of detaching.
Read more: A Shout-Out to Women from an Adult Son