Healing is an interesting concept. If healing is defined as “the process of becoming whole,” then once we’re through (healed of) whatever suffering we’re undergoing, we will be whole again. In the case of a common cold, once we’re healed, we don’t have any lingering effects and we feel like our old selves again.
A physical injury is a little different. When you tear your ACL, for example, surgery is usually required to regain full mobility and reduce pain. After an agonizing surgery and grueling physical therapy you are pronounced healed. You can probably do most of what you were able to do before the tear, but you’re not quite 100 percent all of the time. There may be residual discomfort or minor limitations. You’re better, but it’s different. You’re healed, but you aren’t where you were before the injury.
Emotional or psychological injury and chronic illness present another aspect to healing. Sometimes, no matter what you do or want, you will never be the same. Instead you learn how to move differently in your new world.
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, for example, you must learn to manage your health and activities in a different way. Maybe you are also dependent on medication and that now you must be diligent in taking it correctly. You will never be cured from diabetes, but you can be healed. When you take responsibility for managing your diabetes and changing your lifestyle to optimize your health; you transform the your experience. Instead of the disease having control over you, you now have control over your disease. Many even find meaning in their illness.
Loss and grief also offer lessons in healing. Sometimes I think the essence of life is learning to negotiate loss and live with grief. We lose lots of things in the course of life: our childhood, relationships, jobs, health, and people. Loss precipitates grief and some griefs are easier to heal from than others. Just as deep wound takes time because it must heal from the inside out, so it is with healing from a deep loss. Our hearts will heal, but the emotional scar tissue that remains is a reminder to us of our loss.
Just as recuperating from an illness or injury is no fun, there can be some really unpleasant aspects to healing. There are no shortcuts to healing. Healing takes its own time and has its own process. It’s different for every one.
God heals the broken-hearted,
and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).