June 1

Just One Look

June 1, 2016

Personal Growth

A woman sat on the couch in front of me. Within a second or two I said, “All your life you’ve been in so much pain.”

She burst into tears, and after a minute she asked, “How could you know that?”

I took her by the hand and led her through the dining room and out onto the end of the deck outside, where I asked her what she could see.

“I see a pond, and a waterfall, and a river running from the waterfall to the pond.”

“Do you see the building over there to the right?”

“Yes.”

“In that building,” I said, “are the pumps that recirculate the water from the pond up to the waterfall, which flows down the river to the pond again. Weeks ago I had to take apart the pumps and do extensive replumbing of the pipes. And yet from here—a hundred feet away and on the outside of the pumphouse—I can see that the pumps and plumbing are working correctly. How? If there were leaks, the waterfall and river would not be flowing as well as they are.”

“Okay, but you didn’t answer my question.”

“I can take one look at the waterfall and know that the pumps are working, even though I can’t see them inside the pump house. In a similar way, I can take one look at your face and see the pain you have experienced all your life, even though I wasn’t there to see it inflicted.”

We wear our lives on our faces. As this woman learned to feel loved and happy, her face transformed and became nearly unrecognizable. Just as her face had previously betrayed her pain, now it revealed her peace and joy. And so it is with all of us, that with our faces and our behavior we demonstrate the pain or love of our childhoods.

PCSD

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