Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Q: Is anything "unhealable"?

This question came to me in response to the Down's Syndrome question from last week.

You focused in your response to that (really interesting!) question on the writer's use of the word "should." But I think that begs the question, which (as I read it) was: Is it possible to expect a healing of Down's syndrome? Not just to find harmony and peace about the situation, but to actually achieve a healing? There are a multitude of testimonies of parents who have prayed for healings of other congenital birth defects, even when there seemed to be no physical way that the defect could be reversed. So do you think Down's syndrome is "unhealable?"

And that brings me to a related question: How should a parent pray to find harmony when it seems that their child might be gay? Certainly, the parent would pray to know that his or her child is being led and governed by God, Divine Love, (etc.) but in our society, being gay can be fraught with a great deal of difficulty, prejudice, and heartache—and no one wants any of those for their child. And there are medical theories that homosexuality may be genetic, or may develop in the womb—i.e., has a "physical" cause. So what's the role of the parent here? Parents pray for complete healings when their children seem to be facing other congenital issues—how are they to pray to best support a child whom may be homosexual? So same question as for the Down's syndrome issue—are some human conditions "unhealable" and parents should not expect a physical (or lifestyle) change to result from prayer about these conditions?

Phew! I'm really grateful for these questions, thanks to the one who sent them in.

We heard from Kate the other day on the Down's Syndrome question. Take a look at her story here.

I'm thinking of other, unrelated, instances in my own life where the outside observer thought the healing would be one thing, while I wound up with another. For example, my divorce. Many many well-meaning prayerful friends and family were convinced that healing would mean we would stay together. But no, that marriage was not going to make it, and the healing was to dissolve it. I can say that because it was my marriage. No one else could really tell me what the healing "should" have been.

Nothing is unhealable. We can expect healing in our own experience of the things we are facing. What we can conceptualize, we can realize, both mentally and literally. That conceptualization, though, needs to be built on an understanding of spiritual reality, and not just be human wishful thinking. We're not willing matter to change—we're altering our mentality about matter to the point where matter no longer "matters." At that point, the spiritual closeness to the Divine is the healing, and the results will coincide with that Truth.

That being said, the thing to avoid is looking at another's experience and defining what healing should be for them. It is each person's privilege to have their own individual relationship with God, Spirit, and to find their own path to healing, in whatever way that has meaning for them.

In the case of Down's Syndrome, it is the knee-jerk reaction of those who have not had to deal with it in their lives to believe that healing would mean a change in the physical condition. I've never had to deal with it, so I don't know, and I hate to theorize. It is the sacred task of those who are facing it day-to-day to find healing with their prayers. It is our duty to support them unconditionally with ours, not outlining solutions for them but rejoicing in every sign of God's presence.

With the sexual orientations and choices of our children, we need to exercise the same respect. Unlike Down's Syndrome, I have had to deal with this issue from every possible angle since I have many young friends and family members, and I can say that for me, the best thing has always been to get out of the way and love unconditionally.

I think using the reasoning that their lives will be more difficult if they go one way than if they go another can be a dangerous trap. Life is difficult anyway. "The union of the sexes suffers fearful discord" anyway. You can't guarantee them an easy human life no matter what you do.

If the child is saying he's gay, I wouldn’t remotely try to "heal" that unless he actually wants to—and I think it's a sign of progress that kids don't automatically want to be "healed" of this anymore. Supporting a child who is homosexual and you wanted him to be straight is no different than supporting a child who has a natural talent for mechanics when you wanted him to be a lawyer. Recognize your own dreams and expectations that are mixed in with your thoughts of that child, and let them go. Then let him be himself, and let him know he always has your love.

No one said it was going to be easy! And the issues raised in the question are among the hardest ever for parents to resolve.

Please post your thoughts / responses!!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 6/19/2007 01:29:00 PM, Anonymous Dennis R. said...

What comes to mind is one of Jesus' healings of blindness. In this particular instance, Jesus asked the man "What do you want be to do for you?" Most of us would assume the man wanted healing for blindness. The man replied "Lord, that I might see." Someone else might have asked for a different healing.

We can't assume what another person wants for healing.

At 6/20/2007 07:15:00 PM, Blogger Debra Woodward said...

Laura-what you said about not being able to guarantee your child an easy life no matter what you do is right on. We can't even guarantee ourselves an easy life. Its not about what does or doesn't happen to us in life that is important (nor does it determine whether we are a good Christian, etc.)--its HOW we deal with what happens to us. At least that's what I have come to see. And perhaps that relates to our kids too--HOW do they deal with what life deals them? The theology of a punishing God promotes the idea that someone who has had something bad happen to them must have done something wrong to deserve it.

Re: homosexuality--

It seems certain to me that sex is a human condition, not a spiritual one. And certain conditions do promote spiritual growth and understanding, and others turn our focus toward matter. So I guess it comes down to motive and desire. If our motive is to seek first the kingdom of God, then the labels one attracts in any given society are of little relevance to who we are. Again--it is the HOW (or perhaps why) more than what we do and who we do it with.


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