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(TW: trauma, abuse)

I had to watch a sexual abuse prevention training for work this week. The videos detailed how victims are selected and groomed by their abusers. Most abuse happens with trusted people that their families already know.

I knew watching this training would be hard. Emotional and spiritual healing comes in waves. As I listened to the training my body responded with agitation, so I grounded myself by cleaning the kitchen.

I have been so emotional lately, sorting through the losses in my life. Tears flow freely when I am alone.

That night, the Spirit whispered the most beautiful thing to me as I stretched and prayed.

“Your body remembers everything, and my body does too.”

Bessel van der Kolk writes in his seminal work on trauma that The Body Keeps the Score. We carry the effects of suffering in our cells, tissues, and joints.

And Jesus had a human body, with the same muscle memory when his ligaments and tendons tore under the weight of his outstretched limbs. Now people are his body, and the living memory swells within our bones.

This is what it means to love.

If the body remembers, the heart sets free. So many songs and poems have been lifting my heavy shoulders, bearing my angry arms and laying forgiveness in my palms. All these emotions I carry in my body every day, and every night I try to release them.

Memory is long.

Mercy is wide.