11On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean.
I think talking about healing in religious circles is a complicated and dicey topic. In the story above, Jesus seems to randomly and rather casually heal 10 lepers of their horrible, isolating disease. Why did he choose to heal them, when he surely walked past other lepers in his time without healing them?
“The church” says that with faith the size of a tiny mustard seed, you can do anything – God is all powerful – pray hard, God is listening! Well, what about when you pray so hard your faith has blisters AND your prayers aren’t answered at all? Then what?
Plenty of well-intentioned faithful people have tried to comfort themselves and their loved ones with the idea that God has a greater purpose for their suffering, or that healing will come in God’s time. So is God causing this suffering and deciding when is the right time for it to end? There is little hope or comfort for me in those words.
Whether a person is seeking healing from cancer, arthritis, addiction, or grief; it is often a difficult and lonely journey. As desperate as you are to try anything to feel better, there is that looming option of giving up. It seems the best thing that we can do to support people we love who are suffering is to sit on our hands to stop ourselves from trying to fix them, close our mouth & listen, and most of all SHOW UP. Show up in their life.
Yesterday I saw a really incredible youtube video (I posted it on the Daily Bread Yoga Facebook page – go watch it!) of a guy who had been a paratrooper for years, which caused massive damage to his back and legs, and whole person, obviously. He could barely walk with leg braces and canes. He grew to be very obese. I don’t know what convinced him to try yoga, but he did. The video shows heartbreaking moments of him trying so hard to get into poses, falling down hard and getting back up again. Slowly but surely he transforms physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is a m a z i n g. In the end he is standing on his head — just his head — and has lost 140 pounds.
The video is really inspiring and moving & would convince most anyone that yoga is in fact a wonder-drug! But, it’s also a one in a million story of healing. It’s so amazing because it simply doesn’t happen like this for most people. The truly inspiring part of his story, for me, is not his total transformation, but his initial courage to even hope that he could feel different. Having (and maintaining) such hope for new life in the midst of your worst days, takes a truck load of courage.
But, that same truck load of courage will lead each person down very different paths of healing. Every story of healing doesn’t look like this one in the video or like the story of Jesus healing the lepers. Maybe healing looks like getting sober, finding a good therapist, calling hospice to help you care for your mother, or making 10 minutes in a crazy day for yoga.
Instead of seeking to be healed, maybe the prayer is to find those paths of healing in our journey of life and have the courage to keep walking down it.
The next Daily Bread Yoga retreat is all about healing. It is this Saturday, Feb. 23rd, 9a.m.-noon, at Philo Presbyterian Church, Philo, Illinois. The cost is $20. Bring a yoga mat (if you have one), a bottle of water to drink, and a blanket to sit on. Let me know if you are coming by signing up on the Facebook page or simply replying on the blog. If you have any questions or concerns — ask away.
peace on your head,