Trauma – Stigma or Gift?…

Someone who has experienced trauma also has gifts to offer all of us – in their depth, their knowledge of our universal vulnerability, and their experience of the power of compassion. Sharon Salzberg

Meditation: Trauma is experienced in accidents, violence, abuse, neglect or sudden traumatic loss. Trauma happens to many individuals and by extension also to their families. Often the trauma is kept a secret. Many times others outside the family are unaware of the huge impact that trauma has on a person and on a family. Some never fully recover from those experiences. They continue to live a life paralyzed in fear, and their “body keeps the scores” (see the helpful book “The body keeps the score” from Bessel Van der Kolk). However, if traumatized persons and their families are able to seek and find compassionate and safe places, healing is possible. Yes, there will always be scars and healing will take a long time. And unfortunately the effects of trauma usually linger for a long time before healing is sought. Our culture still avoids mental health and resources to recover from trauma are still not readily available. But when persons seek help, they can find it. And as they walk on this journey of healing from trauma, they develop greater depth, increase their awareness of human vulnerability and develop greater compassion for self and for others. It is very sad that even in the 21st century, our Western society does not talk enough about the impact of trauma on individuals or families. PTSD still holds stigma. People and families still get isolated and lack the support they need and deserve. How can we educate ourselves and others about the incredibly impactful physical, emotional and relational consequences of trauma on individuals and families, and thus reduce and even do away with the stigma that trauma unfortunately still holds?

Prayer: Gracious God, we pray for all individuals and families who have been impacted by traumatic loss experiences, by traumatic violence and by chronic abuse or neglect. You see the depth of anxiety that trauma creates in people and how this anxiety can linger for decades in these individuals and their families. Let all who struggle with trauma find safe spaces where they are being cared for and can begin to heal. Heal the families of soldiers and the victims of abuse, neglect, accidents and sudden loss. You want us to bother you with our trauma. You want us to cast our anxiety onto you, as you know all about trauma through your son Jesus Christ who suffered a traumatic death. Thank you that you care for us and that you want to help us deal openly with our fears and heal us from trauma. Amen

“Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1. Peter 5:7

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