Moses, listening to pain

Few people had listening ears like Moses. He heard God’s voice in a burning bush. Sometimes he chiseled in stone what he heard, even when it required a “do-over.” A profound message within the stone-carving story is that human treachery leaves a long trail, with implications that can last generations. Grace (an expression of God’s undeserved love) vastly outweighs the lingering residue of wrong choices, but we live with lasting societal pain.

Moses heard this lingering pain as “punishment” from God for “the children and their children for the sin of the parents.” Whether it was God inflicting punishment, or the natural consequence of human wrong-doing, the point is that post traumatic shock can last for generations. Yesterday, I read a quote from Barbara Holmes’ book Crisis Contemplation: “The wounds that we don’t know about or don’t remember are the deepest.”

Many years ago, I helped a friend “unpack” a painful memory of child abuse that had been buried for many decades. The memory surfaced in older adulthood. It had been there all along in the unconscious, where it lingered for a long time before breaking into consciousness.

Sometimes, the things we “just don’t talk about” are precisely the things we need to talk about.

From Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village, by Barbara Holmes

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