“When the battle was over, there were battle wounds that needed tending.” Timothy Keller
Dealing with trauma is like dealing with battle wounds; that which caused the wound might be over, but all have to deal with the effects of the wound; sometimes just for a few days or weeks, but other wounds leave a lasting legacy.
Traumatic events can range from being involved in a serious accident, to being diagnosed with a life threatening illness or experiencing assault; they leave us fighting for life and for meaning with 1 in 3 adults report experiencing trauma at some point in their lives, each one leaving their own scar in someones story.
One of the leading thinkers on trauma, Bessel van Kolk writes:
“Trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past it is also the imprint left by the experience of the mind, brain and body.”
After a traumatic event people may experience shock or denial, some may even develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; but it’s important to treat yourself kindly as you come to terms with what life looks now.
Whilst the imprint of trauma cannot be erased; but it can become a chapter of the story – rather than it’s title.
Some have likened trauma to the experience of Holy Saturday, the day after the crucifixion when the worst has happened. The Bible is silent about this day; but I often wonder what it was like for Mary, for the disciples, on the day that hope had died and there was no resurrection on their horizon. It seemed for them that the battle was over, but their wounds needed tending and it might seem for us, in the aftermath of a traumatic event that there is no hope in sight for us.
Hope is there, however blinded we may be to it, it’s found in the Saviour who entered the darkness of Holy Saturday for our sakes and it’s found as we begin to tell the story of our trauma to trusted ears; people who can help us to make sense of what we’ve been through and readjusted us to how our stories now read.
If you’re supporting someone coming to terms with trauma; it’s important to remember that it can be a long road, but listening to them share their story, helping them navigate practical matters, praying for them or encouraging them to seek professional help might just make their readjustment to life a little smoother.
Shelly Rambo writes:
“The work of [trauma] healing is messy. Perhaps we can only write it in multiple drafts.”
Trauma is often a life, a story interrupted but it need not be the end of the story, life can be found again through tears and prayers and stories held by those around us until we can hold all the pages of our story for ourselves.
For more information head to https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/coping-with-traumatic-events/