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Sharon Randall: Seeing is believing

By Sharon Randall

Most of us need to heal once in a while. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually.

Sometimes it’s all the above.

For some of us, the hardest part of healing is simply to believe that it’s possible.

Years ago, I was watching my oldest (who played on a high school basketball team coached by his dad) practice free throws.

The boy was good. He made a dozen shots, swishing the net time and again without a miss.

“How do you do that?” I said.

He grinned and kept shooting.

“Before I release the ball,” he said, bouncing it twice, then holding it up and pausing to stare at the hoop, “I see it in my mind going through the net.”

He released, and swish!

“I see it in my mind,” he said, “to make it happen.”

The same might be said for healing. We need to believe it can happen, picture it in our minds, to see it in reality.

It’s not a guarantee. The boy missed on occasion. He wasn’t happy about that. But he made far more shots than he missed.

I, on the other hand, can shoot free throws all day, picture each one going through the net, and miss nine out of 10. But if I don’t believe I can make at least one, why would I bother to try?

Belief doesn’t assure us of the outcome we hope for. But it sets us in motion to move toward it.

My late husband, the coach who taught the boy to shoot free throws, ran a marathon before he was 50. A year later, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and given six months to live.

By the grace of God and a firm belief that healing was possible, he stretched those six months into four years. He worked hard to heal. At the same time, he also learned to accept and let go.

When he could no longer coach, he sat in the stands and pulled for his players. When he could no longer run, he walked. When he could no longer walk, he lay on the sofa and welcomed a blessed stream of visitors.

It wasn’t the kind of healing that we had prayed for. And yet, I watched his spirit heal, even as his body was dying.

After he died, my children and I tried to honor what he had taught us. We grieved our loss, treasured his memory and moved forward with our lives.

Healing begins when we let go of the past, accept the present and believe that, in the future, all things are possible.

Last fall, I had surgery for a broken ankle and spent eight weeks in a wheelchair. At the end of those eight weeks, I expected to start walking again.

That didn’t happen. My ankle didn’t hurt much, but it didn’t want to bend. And other things hurt plenty: My back, hip, knee.

So I went to physical therapy to strengthen and stretch a few times a week. It wasn’t fun. If I hadn’t believed it could help, I might have stayed home and watched bad TV. But I kept at it.

And just when it seemed I might never again walk without a limp? I quit limping. More or less. Most of the time.

I’m still slow. Things still hurt. I’m not nearly as agile as I hope to be. But I am walking proof that healing is possible.

I wish you could see me.

Recently I had the privilege, a mixed blessing, to hear from several wounded souls. A friend mourned the loss of her dad: “I miss him so much,” she said.

Another described the heartbreak of her mother’s Alzheimer’s: “She doesn’t know she has daughters.”

And a reader wrote to me about struggles in her marriage, adding simply, “It is hard.”

One by one, I tried to feel their pain, to carry it for them, if only for a while. Then I pictured each of them healing. I saw it clearly.

I hope they can see it, too.

We need to believe that healing is possible, both for ourselves and for each other.

If we can see it in our minds and in our hearts and in our souls, we can let go of the past, accept the present and begin to move forward with our lives.

Even if we do it with a limp.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson, NV 89077, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.

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