They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:22-25
Growing up, we had a family tradition that the Birthday person got to choose exactly what they wanted for their Birthday dinner. This was one of my favorite traditions. I would pretend to think long and hard about what I wanted to have for my Birthday dinner. And then I’d choose the same thing every year! Brie Burgers, steamed artichokes, and pierogies.
I thought my parents were crazy the first time they gave me an artichoke. All I saw was a vegetable that looked like a tree with pointy barbs at the end of the leaves. Why on earth would I want to eat that thing?! But both my parents promised that I would enjoy it.
I can still remember intently watching my dad as he showed me how to eat an artichoke. He started with the outer leaves working his way to the softer inner leaves. I vividly recall the next part. He looked at me saying that the prickly part that came next had to be completely removed. He told me not to eat that part under any circumstance. He then explained that I had to go through the prickly part to get to the artichoke heart. This he informed me, was of course the entire goal of eating the artichoke…the best part saved for last!
I discovered that eating an artichoke is not a quick adventure…it takes time. I learned to be patient when it came to artichokes. I found out that the only way to get to the heart of the artichoke was to go through the prickly part. And finally, I knew that the time it took to work my way to the heart was worth every second!
Inner healing is a lot like eating an artichoke. The first couple of times that you meet with a Prayer Minister you work on some of the outlying issues (outer leaves) that have gone on in your life. These are normally the less intimate issues of your life. Then once a rapport is built between you and the Prayer Minister…trust blossoms. You begin to open up feeling comfortable sharing things (inner leaves) that you’ve only trusted to a few individuals. This is often where people stay for awhile – the place where many semi-intimate wounds and issues have built up over the years. Next comes the dreaded prickly part of our lives – the areas of our lives that have been off limits to everyone. These are the places that we have tried to avoid for years because they bring up painful memories. To go here means that we will often be stretched beyond our comfort zones.
It is at this point that we have to trust that God is leading us through that prickly part for a good reason. It is for our ultimate good…not harm. It is because God knows that once those prickly parts of our lives are healed and removed that we will be able to get to the heart of the our healing…which leads to wholeness.
If you are in the process of healing remember to have patience with yourself as you work your way towards the heart of your healing. God will be with you from beginning to end – especially in the prickly parts.
The road to wholeness is an adventure…it is not necessarily a quick one…but it is worth every second!