After resigning from my job as medical director of a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed children, I began making art. Listening to the children’s stories of abuse had taken its toll; I had secondary trauma, an affliction suffered by many therapists. I still wanted to help and asked God to show me how. After weeks of prayer, it came to me in the middle of the night. I awoke, crept into the closet with my journal, and wrote my first song — “I sing a song for the abused child, the song no one wants to hear…”
Writing was the first outlet I used to express my imagination and speak about my experiences. Three months later, I started painting. Creativity continues to carry me through so many wonderful avenues, I started painting healing meditations–one painting came to life when I wrote the 23rd Psalm over and over the collaged breast of a friend. Together, we visualized and drew the chemotherapy attacking her cancer cells but protecting her healthy tissue. We asked Christ to gain dominion over all her cellular functions. Her breast bloomed into a beautiful flower surrounded by the psalmist prayer, “yeah, though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil,” which was covered by an acrylic painting of her sacred lake home.
Singing songs of my pediatric patient’s stories and painting them has contributed to my healing. After listening to a patient’s story, I release the trauma both for them and myself with energy work, prayer, writing and painting.
“How did you witness this abuse, God?” After much soul searching, I realized a simple truth: It was humans who abused my patients, not God. God weeps with my patients, me, and all of us when we are wounded. I am now better able to honor our Creator instead of arguing and blaming.
As patients continue to tell me their life stories, the trauma doesn’t wound me, because I listen not with my ears but with the heart of Christ. And the blessings of wisdom, compassion and understanding are bestowed on both patient and doctor in the telling and believing in a benevolent Creator who knew about trauma before time began.