Healing, by its nature, is always a miraculous thing to witness. Even more so when the method of that healing comes from the seemingly simple act of telling a story.
In this case, I was spending most of one summer a few years back just sitting on the back patio and reading. A next door neighbor was a woman who I hadn’t really met, but judged to be about 60 or 70 years old. She used a walker and seemed to be in pain most every day. She carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and on her face and in her eyes.
One day we began talking about nothing in particular, and that led to her eventually joining me on the patio to just talk over a period of several days. To be honest, I wasn’t all that interested in what she was talking about, but I didn’t say anything.
What I didn’t know was that she was talking about a life filled with Catholic guilt and shame. Since I shared neither of these issues (not being religious), I had no judgment about what she was saying. Her life seemed perfectly fine to me.
But she continued talking, hesitantly at first, then more and more openly, when she realized she wasn’t going to be shut down by someone else’s judgments, as she had been all her life.
More and more came out. I became more and more interested and listened more and more intently, but always with no judgment or criticism; no reinforcement of her guilt and shame.
She began to cry, sobbing tears, wracked with emotions.
And the storm passed.
And then the miracle: The next day she was without her walker. She looked her real age of 49. The wrinkles on her face had vanished and light sparkled in her eyes. She threw away her medications.
She had been healed.
By simply being allowed to tell her story without it being judged as good or bad. By simply being listened to, without trying to be solved. By simply being present for another person.
It is the power of the silent witness.
And it says you’re perfect and always have been. That your life is an honorable one, regardless of what you feel guilty about, or are ashamed of.
It says that your life — all our lives — are a master work of art — the dark and the light.
That there is really nothing to be healed.