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  • Ken Clark

Being Thankful for the Healers

Updated: Apr 24


Hurt in our lives is one of the biggest things we hold in common as people. Its presence in your life serves as your membership card to the human race. It’s the brilliant, simple truth behind the unforgettable R.E.M. song titled appropriately, “Everybody Hurts.”

No matter where you travel on this planet, no matter what language you speak, whether you’re young, old, rich or poor, EVERYONE hurts sometimes. We all know (or eventually will) what it is to fall and scrape a knee, feel the sting of rejection, experience the gaping hole of losing someone we love or to feel hate for who we see in the mirror.

For many of us, the physical or relational injury that caused that pain was big enough that there are points when we wonder if we’ll survive it, much less recapture some semblance of normal. Some of us have suffered big enough or frequent enough that the pain may steal our very will to fight or our ability to find hope that things could ever be something more than miserable.

For some of us, the realization that we are the source of our own injuries, be it through our unconscious reflexes or our conscious choices, is enough to start an unstoppable flood of tears. Our shame at who or how we’ve been and the damage we’ve caused is far worse than anything that anyone else could ever inflict upon us.

Tragically, for some of us, it’s both. We live in a world filled with physical or mental damage that was beyond our control, only to be made worse by our own choices.

This is the world that the healers step into. These incredible people began making us whole again through their words, actions, expertise, inclusion, vulnerability and sacrifice. Sometimes it’s their calling and they’ve spent a lifetime training for it, practicing it and perfecting themselves as an instrument of healing. Other times, they were simply a smile in a hallway when we were sure that we were invisible to everyone but the voices in our heads. Either way, they showed up at a crucial moment where all might have been lost without them.

Letting the Healers Know it Worked

Healers are a funky bunch. They’re some of this world’s biggest heroes, but most of them genuinely reject the praise and celebration we try and heap on them. They mutter something about “this is just what I do” and then try to find the door as quickly as possible. They’d rather get back to healing people than spend time in the spotlight being told how awesome they are.

As a therapist myself, working alongside and caring for a ton of other healers, I’ve come to understand what many of us need and crave above all else. I've come to understand the type of gratitude that hits the target when it comes to showing appreciation to the healers.

It’s not the spotlight, awards or promotions, though our spouses and families will all exclaim “it’s about time!” when we finally do get recognized publicly. Instead, what the healer’s heart needs above all else, is to know that “it” worked. To know that the healing occurred, that progress was made, that the time, effort and sacrifice made a difference in someone else's life.

Many of us as healers live for the moment where we see people finally get to move on with their lives. That was the whole point of helping... to be part of a solution that allowed them to forget about their pain, to lose their limp and become a whole person again. That’s the payoff and why we signed up for the gig. It’s why we show up everyday and put in the long hours, even on our days off.

Some Healers Heal Because It Makes Them Whole

Many of us as healers can’t get enough of that moment, because it heals some of the biggest wounds that we carry ourselves. Healers often have their own journeys with physical and emotional trauma that if shared aloud, would silence a room. It’s a huge part of why they became healers in the first place. They found something that helped heal them, maybe even saved them, and they cannot help but share it with someone else.

It’s often a healer's own way of making sense of their past, of finding hope and of refusing to live with the cards we were dealt. Being thankful for the healers in your world, letting us know that "it worked," helps us to complete our own journey of healing and creates new healers in the process. It proves that we’re not crazy, that our fear and pain is understood and that different outcomes are possible. It proves to both ourselves and the rest of the world that suffering does not get the last word.

So, who do you know that needs to know that “it worked?”

Is it a nurse, pastor, therapist or lawyer who had the silver bullet you needed? Is it a friend, sibling, partner or colleague who didn’t have the answers but chose to pull up a chair and wait in the uncertainty with you? Is it someone who has never known how much a single moment or a lifetime of service has forever changed you?

Time to let them know. Time to write a letter, make a phone call, send a gift or tell somebody the story of how someone who is no longer part of this world changed yours.

Go do it. Go be a healer to a healer today.

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