Speaking Despair’s Name
Updated: Feb 12, 2019
“We always find that the ones who walked closest to Christ were those who had to bear the biggest trials.” Theresa of Avila
Research shows the vast majority of us have endured childhood trauma. (see https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-and-behavior/201901/childhood-trauma-exposure-is-all-too-common) Traumas like witnessing or enduring violence or having trauma happen to a loved one is now more common than not. The fact of the matter is that we are all wounded, and we carry the woundedness into adulthood often without even knowing it.
If we walk around our lives dismissing our traumas, we are only making them persist. Research shows that the more we resist our traumas, we get sicker
(see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181836/) Sicker in mind and heart, our spiritual selves are abandoned simply to survive.
It it isn’t the memory of our traumas that will kill us. It is the running from the despair that will.
We have a choice when we are up against our despair. We can blunt it, avoid it, blame others, deny it, blame ourselves.
We can choose to keep busy busy busy, or we can stop, breathe and notice.
We could pause, see the despair for what it is, bear witness to it as it speaks its name.
And we do this in community. We are stripped of shame when we acknowledge we all are walking this path of healing.
When we bear witness to each other's despair, we are shown we are not alone.
We speak despair's name to our diary. We speak despair's name to loved ones. We speak despair's name in the therapy room. We speak our despair publicly or privately, step by step, moment by moment, and it loosens its grip on us.
When we give our traumas a safe place for airing, we are taught that we can endure them.
When we learn that we can endure, we are free.