I was trying to figure out what the voice of the grandmothers would say to the children. What words could be affirming and meaningful, yet generic and make no promises that couldn’t be kept? I had found people to translate these caring words for the different grandmothers, but the words themselves eluded me
While researching this issue, I turned to a Psychologist with a great deal of experience in trauma work and healing and asked her what she says when she first meets a client. Her response, “I tell them I’m glad they survived. Then, I ask them what they want from me.”
How simple and profound. Acknowledging the offense and offering true service; establishing in a moment the path where the victims could be in control of their own healing journey. It reminded me how much suffering would be nonexistent if we only treated each other in such a way from the outset—I honor you and your life. How can I help you? Within those words are so many other sentiments; gratitude, remorse, dignity, respect, courage, empathy, hope, and connection.
What if the asylum-seeking families had been greeted on our border with this type of response? — “I’m glad you (unlike others) have survived the violence that has caused you to flee your country. I’m sorry you had to suffer in that way. I can’t imagine. How can I help?”
Isn’t this the truly humanitarian response to suffering? Isn’t this the way each of us would want to be received if roles were reversed?
What’s true for the individual is true for the collective. Our society will only be healthy when we practice these skills; not only when there is hurt, but as a preventative measure. Remember when we defined healing as “the return to normal function?”. (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=370791753468041&id=275186819695202.)
The healing way is also the healthy way. Our normal way of being is in community with each other; respecting each other, caring for one another, working together for the common good. We need to use our moral imagination to create a world we cannot yet see.
Share your thoughts in meaningful dialogue –
(Please do not comment here, instead talk to another – perhaps someone you disagree with – and have a constructive conversation.)
What is your definition of suffering?
Please tell about a time when someone treated you with respect.
What does John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,”make you feel? (Note the “cool” peace glasses on the little girls 😊)