This week has been full. There remains much to process. A clear theme, however, is that there is very little in this work of conflict resolution, justice, reconciliation and healing that is concrete or certain. There is data, knowledge and information to be sure. Ultimately, though, engagement in the deepest rifts of this world means, that as practitioners, we will be part of something greater than ourselves. It is probable we will not be present for a particular conflict from its start to its finish. As a practitioner, I know this work to include lifelong learning. I find that wisdom comes as gift and miracle, and that discernment is a critical practice. Whether personal or professional, one is formed from the inside out to be present in the brokenness and the healing.

My own experience with trauma, and in the privilege of knowing the stories of suffering of many because of my work as a Christian minister, the reality is that conflict resolution, reconciliation, justice and healing do not work on a set timeline. When my husband was killed, many widows offered me “widow-wisdom”. One of the pithy phrases which was an encouragement to me was, “It takes the time it takes.” When I felt I was not ready to deal with something – a feeling, memory, an intense legal matter, or even a mundane daily task – I would remember this phrase and forgive myself for not having gotten on with life according to someone else’s timeline. Since one cannot “un-know” the experience of trauma, life is forever changed. Healing, I think includes integrating into one’s reality what one cannot un-know. Hopefully giving and receiving forgiveness can become part of one’s story. Hopefully empowerment can be integrated with the suffering. Healing peels back like the proverbial onion. And that is okay.

I experienced yesterday’s session on story telling with Amy Hill of Story Center (Based in Berkeley – check out the website at as synthesizing. Writing ( or in some other form telling) and deeply hearing our stories is a communion of sorts. While she did not use the word, “sacred” came to mind. Everyone has a story and each one is holy. Our stories are sacred because they connect us to mystery, something bigger than ourselves. We reverence the transformation (both pleasurable and horrific) that comes through events. Everyone’s story should be handled with care.

I was reminded of Rupi Kaur’s work. She is a poet, writer and story teller. Google her YouTube on taking her body back after being raped. I have enjoyed her book of poems, Milk and Honey. One poem is this:

the thing about writing is I can’t tell if it is healing me or destroying me”.

Writing (Dr. Iyer reminded us of the power of journaling) helps us move through death and new life; a natural way embedded in the creation that helps us come to new places. It is a process that supports our reconciliation, healing and justice. We are being healed even as we are destroyed. No doubt the process itself can be traumatic!

I close with this screen shot of another of Kaur’s poems and drawings from Milk and Honey.