“Seeing Is Believing,” June 20, 2017

Most of us need to heal once in a while.

Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually.

Sometimes it’s all the above.

For some of us, the hardest part of healing is simply to believe that it’s possible.

Years ago, I was watching my oldest (who played on a high school basketball team coached by his dad) practice free throws. The boy was good. He made a dozen shots, swishing the net time and again without a miss.

“How do you do that?” I said.

He grinned and kept shooting.

“Before I release the ball,” he said, bouncing it twice, then holding it up and pausing to stare at the hoop, “I see it in my mind going through the net.”

He released, and swish!

“I see it in my mind,” he said, “to make it happen.”

The same might be said for healing. We need to believe it can happen, picture it in our minds, to see it in reality. It’s not a guarantee. The boy missed on occasion. He wasn’t happy about that. But he made far more shots than he missed.

I, on the other hand, can shoot free throws all day, picture each one going through the net, and miss nine out of 10. But if I don’t believe I can make at least one, why would I bother to try?

Belief doesn’t assure us of the outcome we hope for. But it sets us in motion to move toward it.

My late husband, the coach who taught the boy to shoot free throws, ran a marathon before he was 50. A year later, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and given six months to live.

By the grace of God and a firm belief that healing was possible, he stretched those six months into four years. He worked hard to heal. At the same time he also learned to accept and let go.

When he could no longer coach, he sat in the stands and pulled for his players. When he could no longer run, he walked. When he could no longer walk, he lay on the sofa and welcomed a blessed stream of visitors.

It wasn’t the kind of healing that we had prayed for. And yet, I watched his spirit heal, even as his body was dying.

After he died, my children and I tried to honor what he had taught us. We grieved our loss, treasured his memory and moved forward with our lives.

Healing begins when we let go of the past, accept the present and believe that, in the future, all things are possible.

Last fall, I had surgery for a broken ankle and spent eight weeks in wheelchair. At the end of those eight weeks, I expected to start walking again. That didn’t happen. My ankle didn’t hurt much, but it didn’t want to bend. And other things hurt plenty: My back, hip, knee.

So I went to physical therapy to strengthen and stretch a few times a week. It wasn’t fun. If I hadn’t believed it could help, I might have stayed home and watched bad TV. But I kept at it.

And just when it seemed I might never again walk without a limp? I quit limping. More or less. Most of the time. I’m still slow. Things still hurt. I’m not nearly as agile as I hope to be. But I am walking proof that healing is possible.

I wish you could see me.

Recently I had the privilege, a mixed blessing, to hear from several wounded souls. A friend mourned the loss of her dad: “I miss him so much,” she said.

Another described the heartbreak of her mother’s Alzheimer’s: “She doesn’t know she has daughters.”

And a reader wrote to me about struggles in her marriage, adding simply, “It is hard.”

One by one, I tried to feel their pain, to carry it for them, if only for a while. Then I pictured each of them healing. I saw it clearly.

I hope they can see it, too.

We need to believe that healing is possible, both for ourselves and for each other.

If we can see it in our minds and in our hearts and in our souls, we can let go of the past, accept the present and begin to move forward with our lives.

Even if we do it with a limp.

Comments

  1. Paula Johnson says:

    Sharon. I always enjoy your articles. But today you spoke straight to my heart. In August it will be five years since I lost my husband. Five years! So long yet so short. I am still struggling to find that peace that helps you to accept the present and move forward. Your articles and the very fact that you find joy in so much if your life is a wonderful example to me. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Ron Talley says:

    Thank you, Sharon, for your healing words. I broke my ankle 4 1/2 months ago, and I still limp, with pain. Your words help me to be positive and to see healing in my future! Onward and upward!

  3. Elaine says:

    I understand taking your time and healing. I had my second knee replacement and I see how I want it to be in my mind everyday. It helps to imagine walking with my grandkids on the Pumpkinvine walking trail. Keep working on your ankle and I will my knee. Be positive.

  4. Don Roper says:

    Thank you. For this column, and all the other great ones. I cut your column from the ANDERSON INDEPEDENT MAIL for my ninety six year old Mother. This one hit home because I too have colon cancer and have seen two Christmas’ my Doctor said I would not. My prayer is that I go before I get to the couch. You have a blessed gift for putting into words that most of us cannot enunciate. For that, I am thankful. My Mother, Mary Roper, more than I. Thank you again, and know you have touched two lives who appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

  5. Rick Barrientes says:

    Thanks Sharon. I needed some encouraging words. I’ll be having surgery in a couple of weeks and am starting to feel nervous. Your column made me feel a whole lot better. Thanks again.

  6. shashi says:

    Thank you. Wish you speedy recovery!!

  7. Cheryl Ritchie says:

    Love reading your work. There is always something I take away with me after I read. Thank you for the word you write to all of us.

  8. Kim felton says:

    So beautiful Sharon. Our world needs to read this…

  9. Cathy Followell says:

    Praying for your ankle to heal up completely so you can run with your grand babies!! Sure do appreciate your thoughts on things! I always feel you write just for me! God bless you and yours…❤️❤️

  10. Janet says:

    I lost my husband of over fifty years on the 19th of May. I’m trying to imagine a time when it won’t hurt as bad or the hole in my heart won’t seem as big.

    • Kate Sciacca says:

      Prayers for your healing Janet. We do not go through grief, grief goes through us. We cannot control it… as CS Lewis said, losing a spouse is like losing a leg – you will learn to walk again – but you will never be “two-legged” again.

  11. Thank you, Sharon. I needed these healing words today.
    Continued blessings,
    Bruce

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