Trauma is a dislocation. It is a sudden shift in circumstance or identity that is unexpected. This can be the loss of a job, a sudden illness, the loss of a loved one and so on. During times of trauma the brain lays very strong neural pathways that can stay with you for life, for better or for worse. It is how people cope with trauma, recover from it or manage life after it that is unique to the human experience. The many stories told throughout history of people’s triumph over trauma capture our interest and attention.
I have spent a lot of time reading about the way the brain changes during and after trauma but that doesn’t prepare you for how your own brain and self and identity will change after trauma. That is always an open question.
It is fair to ask, on these pages, how my spirituality, my faith, has coped with trauma. Has it helped me along the journey and will it survive through to the other side? Certainly it has been a great comfort to have a sense of power outside of myself and an awareness that “someone” knows about my state. But observing illness in a loved one and being forced to observer the less fortunate at close hand and feeling powerless to intervene has moderated and reshaped my childish beliefs. Seeing an invisible hand at work throughout the entire journey, beginning before we even knew there was a journey to be taken, has strengthened my belief in the One.
How will we work through this trauma together as a family and a wider friendship community? Which parts of our faith will be strengthened and which will be re-shaped? What paths will we forge in our new future? I am not sure but I do know that I am grateful for my faith and the faith of those close friends around us at this time.