“The wish for healing has ever been the half of health” (Seneca).
THERE IS NO PERSON WHO NEVER NEEDED HEALING — AND NO PERSON WHO NEVER LONGED FOR IT. Wounded by the hurts of this world, we yearn to be made whole again. When our injuries and ailments do not produce outright pain, we still sense a vague longing for a wholeness that is not ours right now. And when these things do produce pain, we are acutely aware of our need for healing.
As much as we long for healing and health, however, it is self-defeating to become obsessed with it. Whatever damage we may have suffered, whether self-inflicted or otherwise, we will recover from it better if we get the focus off ourselves and onto other people. One of life’s ironies is that we ourselves experience the greatest healing when we concentrate on being the agents of healing for others. Healing comes to us as a by-product of serving the health of those around us.
The major mistake many of us make nowadays, however, is thinking that healing comes from pleasure. Wounded and world-weary, we throw ourselves into mirth, merriment, and sensual indulgence, seeking to “drown our sorrows.” But Billy Graham was right when he said, “The river of pleasure, though it flows through lush meadows and beautiful glens, contains no healing for the soul.” When true healing is what we need, mere pleasure will not suffice.
What then will suffice? Although you don’t want to hear it, the truth is that nothing will suffice — at least if what you have in mind is the perfect, complete healing of every grief and emptiness before you die. My personal belief is that spiritual truths are available that can put us on the road to such healing, but the perfection of that healing must await the completion of this life and our graduation to the next.
That said, it’s encouraging to know that progress can be made on our healing in the here and now. But healing is a process that takes time. Rarely is there any quick fix that is available to us. So we can wear ourselves out reading the latest self-help analysis of our problems, trying to figure out the solution, but in the end, “time heals what reason cannot” (Seneca). To be healed, we must be willing to wait.
How poor are they that have not patience!
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?