Healing, Recovery, and the Sacrament of Waiting

Several weeks ago, I was sorting a stack of papers at home when I came across this poem, one of my favorites. You never know what treasures you may come across when you de-clutter. As I re-read the poem, I was touched again by its poignancy and achingly beautiful imagery. I first came across this poem a few years ago when I was in the middle of recovering from a thorny health crisis. The poem was an excellent reminder that healing and recovery are processes that take time and challenge us to cultivate patience. Cultivating patience during the healing process can be tough. When we are not feeling well, we want to feel better as soon as possible. That is totally understandable, but when we hold onto that goal too tightly and fight against the time needed to recover, we inadvertently create tension in the body, which may hinder the healing process. There can be  something very tender, freeing and even sacred about committing to the healing process and learning to accept where we are right now, even if it does not feel very good.

I offer this to any of you who are in the healing process, recovering from depression, job loss, anxiety, surgery, grief, trauma, cancer, addiction, or any other difficult life circumstance. May you embrace the sacrament of waiting and trust in the healing process, taking comfort in the knowledge that you are in the process of becoming whatever comes next in your life. As you move through this process, remember also that every living being goes through cycles of injury, healing, and thriving. May you know that you are not alone, always in good company with others who are healing.

With gratitude and care,

Dr. Jen

The Sacrament of Waiting

by Macrina Wiedekehr

she celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
First she surrendered her green,
then the orange, yellow, and red
finally she let go of her brown.
Shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust.

Shedding her last leaf
she watched its journey to the ground.
She stood in silence
wearing the color of emptiness,
her branches wondering;
How do you give shade with so much gone?

And then,
the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive.

They helped her understand that
her vulnerability,
her dependence and need,
her emptiness,
her readiness to receive
were giving her a new kind of beauty.
Every morning and every evening they stood in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting.