Friday, April 19, 2013

Healing Within Community

5:12 p.m.
Matter of Taste Coffee Bar - Kitchener, Ontario

We all have those days when we have a hard time functioning, whether it be at work or with our families or in some other area of our lives. We have days when we can barely get out of bed. And it can seem that there is no easy answer, no quick fix, and we wonder if we'll ever emerge from this "funk."

I have many days like this, as I suffer from clinical depression as well as bi-polar disorder. I write "suffer from" rather than just "have" because it is a suffering. Sometimes it's like the perfect storm..without George Clooney. On days like this it seems like there's no way out. This can be extra hard if you're like me and you tend to be quite introverted as it is.

I am fortunate to have a few very close friends whom I can do coffee with or chat with during these times.  But I suggest another form of healing, and that is healing within community. Finding a community where you can be yourself and feel welcome and safe is like gold. For me it is my Unitarian Universalist congregation where I attend each week and feel surrounded by a group of people who are supportive rather than judgmental.  For others it could be their church or a service club or being part of a sports team.

Another benefit of finding healing within community is that you aren't putting the full weight of your pain on one person, or expecting "this person" or "that person" to heal your pain, which can be enormous.  When we do this, we often crush people and they flee; they end the friendship or relationship because they simply do not have it in them to be our emotional healer. And it's not their job.

Within community we can be lifted up by several understanding people without crushing any of them. Community can augment our personal friendships as well as the professional help we may need.

Peace and wellness to you today,

Mark Andrew Nouwen