August 2014: Roots in the Ruins: Hope in Trauma
I’ve commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t ever be afraid or discouraged! I am your God, and I will be there to help you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Have you ever stepped into a threshold in time and space where, when you came out on the other side, you knew something in you had changed forever? Author Lisa Schirch in her book “Ritual and Symbol in Peace-Building” speaks of liminal space as the place of transformation, just after what “used to be” and before “what is to come” it is holy land, where the Spirit of God gives us new perspectives and inspires us with vision.
The Roots in the Ruins: Hope in Trauma courses, supported by Global Ministries, are an invitation into liminal space. Pastors, lay leaders, church and community members are invited to explore trauma healing and resilience development theory and practice in the context of Latin American and the Caribbean churches. We step together into liminal space, forming a deep-sharing community, trusting each other with our trauma stories, uplifting each other’s dignity, and walking together towards reconnection with God, ourselves, others, and the world around us.
Boris Cyrulnik says that a “resilience tutor” is someone who, like the stake attached temporarily to a growing sapling, accompanies others for a time, shoring up confidence, promoting independence and affirming self worth and capacity. The liminal space and the people who were there with us nourish our resilience. Vitally important for healing is the way I behave as I share the learning space, teach with humility and respect, and recognize that I, too, am a “wounded healer” dependent on the guidance and grace of the Holy Spirit. What I model speaks louder than what I teach.
Elena Huegel, a member of Iglesia Cristiana Ebenezer, Los Fresnos, Texas, serves the Pentecostal Church of Chile (IPC). She is an environmental and Christian education specialist.