Healing Naaman and Me – Part 5
When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” – 2 Kings 5:8-10
Do you remember the Peanuts character Pig-Pen? He was the little guy who had a perpetual dust cloud around him. In more than one episode Pig-Pen bathed and put on clean clothes and the moment he stepped outside he instantly became dirty. He then remarked to Charlie Brown, “You know what I am? I’m a dust magnet!”
I think that possibly describes us . . . especially before we start our journey to healing and recovery. Except we’re not dust magnets . . . we’re drama magnets! No matter how much we say we want out of the drama, no matter how far away from certain drama kings and queens we try to stay, the drama seems to follow us around.
And when we’re enveloped in this cloud of drama all the time, we can’t see things clearly.
I remember when I first started my journey toward healing and recovery, I was amazed at how clearly some people were able to discern the issues behind all the drama in my life. While all I saw was seemingly never-ending confusion and chaos, they saw simply black and white issues that could be addressed.
I wanted that! And gradually and eventually I got more and more of it.
The king of Israel appears to me to be another kind of king . . . a Drama King! I have to believe that he knew about Elisha. I believe he knew Elisha was God’s prophet. I bet the king knew about some of the miracles God had performed through Elisha. I have a feeling he knew where Elisha lived, or at least knew someone who could point Naaman in the right direction.
But instead of calmly addressing the real issue . . . that Naaman had come to the wrong person for healing, the king of Israel throws a drama party.
Thankfully he had someone who could see through his cloud of drama.
Elisha hears about it and sends a message to the king. The message has three points. Here’s my paraphrase:
- Quit being the Drama King.
- Send him to me.
- Offer him some hope.
Elisha was not fooled by the cloud of drama in the throne room. He calmed the Drama King down. He gave clear direction for Naaman’s next step. He kept Naaman’s hope alive . . . hope that the king had just dashed to pieces.
Al of us need an Elisha in our lives – people who can see through our drama. People who know our next steps to take in the recovery process. And people who know how to keep our hope alive when things look bleak.
Naaman decides to give it a try. So he and his entire group ride up to Elisha’s front door. I don’t know for sure, but I bet Naaman’s entourage was bigger than the house Elisha lived in!
I realize Naaman probably didn’t want to travel alone. And maybe he had to take part of the cavalry with him on his trip. But did the entire clan have to go to Elisha’s house?
The healing and recovery process is only available to individuals. There’s no group rate. Now you may very well be part of a group, 12-steps or otherwise, but the work is done on an individual basis.
And like Naaman had to go to the prophet’s house, we will definitely have to go out of our comfort zone during our healing process. And isn’t that a good thing? I mean for crying out loud . . . our comfort zone is smack dab in the middle of dysfunction and chaos! It’s filled with drama and hopelessness! Who would want to stay there?!?
I would. You would. We all would. Because we know what to expect there. Right? Even when what we expect is not pleasant, at least we’re used to it.
It takes a lot of courage to leave our comfort zone. Even if that comfort zone is dangerous. Every day women stay in physically abusive relationships that end up killing them.
Others of us stay in relationships that are abusive in other ways and put up with it for a long time. Some stay their entire lives. We don’t have enough courage to try anything different. We know what to expect. Even if what we expect is not good. Or right. Or even safe.
And when we’re offered hope of a better life through healing and recovery, we want to drag all that baggage with us and fix everyone involved at the same time. We continue to ‘carry’ all our relationships and history with us. We don’t understand that the only person we can change is ourselves.
I was once told by a therapist that the best thing I could do for my loved ones who were involved in this dysfunction with me was to heal and recover myself. That way I could be an example for them.
She knew what I didn’t . . . that when I changed, all of my relationships would also change.
The directions Elisha gave Naaman were not what Naaman expected, as we will see in the next chapter. I don’t think the healing and recovery process is ever what we expect it to be. We want instant fixes. We want easy to follow directions. And we want to stay in our comfort zone with the companions we have now. We want to continue with our life the way it is. (Say, didn’t we recently talk about insanity?)
My healing and recovery process took me further out of my comfort zone than I ever imagined. It cost me things I did not want to lose. And I had to do things that did not make sense to me.
But I continued . . . not because it was easy or comfortable or logical. I continued because people kept holding out hope to me. Hope for healing. For sanity. For a functional life.
I continued mainly because I met people who had lived much worse lives than I, had been in much deeper pits, and were now sane. Healed. Hopeful. Functional. Were their lives perfect? Definitely not. Were all their loved ones healed and recovered? Unfortunately not all of them. But these people seemed genuinely happy.
They had let go of things they couldn’t control or change and were clinging to what they could . . . their own journey. They were focused on enjoying where they were on their path and in continually pursuing the next step.
My goal in healing and recovery became MY healing and recovery. Yes, I wanted those around me to make the journey too, but I learned that was not in my control. So I made the decision to pursue my path.
I’m so glad I did.
There’s one more thing that Elisha says that I believe offered Naaman . . . and me . . . hope for the journey.
Elisha said that the results of Naaman washing himself seven times in the Jordan would be restoration and cleansing.
The first thing that hits me here is that Elisha said Naaman should ‘wash himself’. I wonder if this had to do with the fact that Naaman came with his entire entourage, which probably included a servant or two.
I don’t know if Naaman was accustomed to being bathed by his servants, but I think Elisha wanted to be clear here that this was something Naaman had to do for himself. No one else could do it for him. Just like our own healing and recovery process.
I think the rest of that sentence represents two things. The restored flesh is a physical sign of the inward cleansing. I believe that continuing the healing process, following through and not giving up will result in a major change on the inside.
But I believe that the inward change will also be displayed on the outside. Others will recognize that something monumental has happened to us. The transformation we go through will become more and more obvious . . . especially to the people who know us best.
And that is why some of them will decide to pursue their own journey of healing and recovery. Because our transformation offers them hope.
Our experiences will enable us to one day be someone else’s Elisha.
© Rhonda Fleming, 2013