Who’s To Say Healing Doesn’t Heal?

Image description: There is an orange-brown background, and toward the right side of the image, there is a circle of symbols of people made from paper. They are holding hands in the circle, and a light is shining in the middle of the circle.

Sometimes, we have a zero-sum mindset about rest, care, and personal growth.

We feel anxious or guilty about prioritizing rest, care, and personal growth because somewhere deep down inside us, we believe… if we choose to prioritize these for ourselves… deliberately receiving from others, setting up daily rhythms of personal care practices, or engaging extended periods of intentional, internal work… we believe… we are somehow taking from others.

Some of us have also been socialized to view care in these ways.

I’m not talking about falling off the grid entirely (though by all means, it’s helpful to do this temporarily here and there). I just want to make a claim that rest, care, and personal growth are not necessarily selfish, which is something we can easily fear or feel guilty about. This zero-sum mindset easily creeps in amidst parenting, pastoring, organizing, and caregiving.

We, ourselves, are intrinsically worth rest, care, and personal growth. We matter.

But also, when we keep our connections with others in mind, this is not a zero-sum situation — our rest, care, and personal growth is always embedded in relationships. It is always for the benefit of the community. We are refreshed and energized. We bring our fuller selves to our relationships, roles, and work. And when our rest, care, and personal growth stay in contact and connection with others, we pay attention to the systemic forces which make it much more challenging for some to experience those extended times of rest, care, and personal growth. Our care becomes more intentional here, and respecting people’s agency, we practice care outwardly, prioritizing others also. We take care of each other. We cultivate care spaces in mutuality together.

I wonder why we think these are divided from one another — personal healing and receiving versus community care work. As if we can only do one or the other.

After all, who’s to say they aren’t absolutely connected?

Who’s to say that healing doesn’t heal?

Renee Roederer

Self Family Reunion

Image Description: Black background and the word ‘family’ in white letters; the l has a tree growing out of it. Public domain image.

What if you could be gathered together in one place with a version of yourself from every year of your life? Like, from baby to current age of adulthood?

What if every age of yourself was present toward all the others, gathered together like a family reunion of sorts? What would that be like?

-Would certain ages pair together for care?

-Would certain ages avoid each other?

-Would certain ages wander off somewhere and find some space to tell the truth, or maybe do some reconciliation work?

-Would certain ages impart wisdom to the other ages?

What might the current you want to say to your younger selves? What might your younger selves want to say to the current you? Truth be told, our younger selves are always present in some way, embedded into the rest of our lives. We can access the various parts of ourselves, and in a sense, even be in relationship with ourselves.

I wonder what would happen in this family reunion?

Renee Roederer

Dare to Take Heart

Image Description: Two directional arrows — one toward Hope and the other toward Despair.
Public Domain Image.

In the midst of pain — our own or that of the world around us – it can sometimes seem downright foolish to let ourselves become hopeful. It can even be risky —

What if things never get better than this?

What if the next catastrophe still happens?

What if I look like a fool?

Hope takes risk, I suppose. Hope certainly doesn’t put us in control. Hope might invite us to desire things that in the end, we do not get to see.

But hope also has a way of creating things – things that could barely be imagined before. Hope helps our imagination become alive, and from there, when we envision other possibilities, we soon discover that we are called to participate in their creation. Hope leads us somewhere.

And so, in the midst of it all — whatever it is for you; whatever it is for the world — what might it look like to dare to take heart?

Renee Roederer

“By Just Your Being You”

Image Description: Fred Rogers sitting in the house set of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. He’s wearing a red, zip down sweater and a tie.

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

He said this daily with emphasis and intention. Occasionally, he said it with playfulness. He always meant it, and young children across the United States internalized this message inside themselves. They came to believe it. Very likely, many came to memorize it, and in anticipation, they said it along with him, either aloud or inside their own minds.

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

This was a litany of sorts. A daily recitation.

We might also call it liturgy.

Liturgy literally means, “Work of the people” — sacred words voiced, shared, and enacted. Perhaps in these days, we need to voice, share, and enact the convictions behind this daily statement.

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

And maybe part of our work as a people is to internalize these words inside ourselves as well.

After all, I notice one intriguing word in this daily liturgy. It’s the word your. Fred Rogers could have easily said, “You make each day special. You know how, by just being you.” But instead, he added the word your. “You know how, by just your being you.” His phrasing is actually a bit more clunky than it has to be.

But it’s also important. We are invited to know our specialness, worth, and value as ours. We are encouraged to be in relationship with ourselves — “being you” — knowing that even in our days of doubt, we are worth loving. We can live in conversation with this truth, recognizing when we are living in alignment with its values and when we have temporarily acted outside of them. We can always return.

And this isn’t ego, a way of setting ourselves against others or above others. It is a truth we live in relationship with others. So we hear and speak it again in relationship:

You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you.

And we come to make it ours.

Renee Roederer