JR. Forasteros - January 16, 2022

Naming Trauma

Deep Breath

We don't like to admit we're hurting. We want to present ourselves as strong, competent, able to shoulder the burdens of life. But a strong facade actually keeps us from healing. Naming our pain, our trauma, is essential to healing. Our pain matters to God. Our trauma matters to God. Naming it is how we learn to hope.

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A couple of years ago, I tore my ACL. Of course, I didn’t know that at first. All I knew was that my knee hurt very badly. It was a sprain, I told myself.

The next day, I could barely walk. It’s fine, I told myself. It’s always worse the next day. It’ll be better tomorrow. 

And it was, a little bit.

A couple of weeks later, I was still limping pretty badly. But I told myself I was fine. It was our wedding anniversary, so we went to Hilton Head, SC. We stayed with my cousin and her family, and on the third day, we did a walking tour of Savannah, GA – which is usually my favorite city in the US. 

Here’s the thing: I don’t recommend a walking tour of Savannah, GA when you have a torn ACL. It’s significantly less enjoyable.

After that trip, my wife finally made me go to the doctor. I saw an orthopedic surgeon over in Rockwall. He looked at my knee and said, “Oh yeah, it’s a torn ACL.”

I blinked at him.

He said, “We’ll have to run an MRI to be sure, but I see five of these a day. Sorry, man.”

I got the scans, did the follow-up and scheduled the surgery.

Long story short, I have a new ACL and walking tours are fine again. But I couldn’t get there until I admitted I had a real problem. A problem that wouldn’t go away by ignoring it. Something I couldn’t fix by myself. 

Why did I wait so long to see a doctor? Maybe it’s partly because I grew up in the “rub some dirt on it and walk it off” generation. I think a lot of it was that I knew I was hurting but didn’t want to admit it and go through the disruption and cost of a major surgery.

But I was never going to heal on my own. I had to name the pain and ask for help. That didn’t make we weak – it actually made me smart. What was dumb and weak was limping around like I didn’t have a problem, when every single person who saw me walking around could tell I had a big problem.

The reality is that we’re all hurting.

And it’s not going to get better until we name our pain and look to the one who can heal us.

Join us Sunday as we experience the God who knows our trauma – and meets us in it.

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