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Recovery: Hope After Trauma: Week 1 Homily (6/6/2021)

What gives you hope? Perhaps more personally, who gives you hope? Take a moment … think about it.

For many of us, we’ve just come through perhaps the hardest 15 months or so of our lives and it seems as if finally, we are able to exhale, to take a breath, as the worst surely seems to be behind us … but what have we learned? … what or who got us through? … and where do we find hope?

We will look at these questions in our message series … RECOVER – HOPE AFTER TRAUMA over the next four weeks because indeed it would be a shame if we didn’t learn anything from this pandemic and more tragically, if we can’t move forward from this as people of stronger hope.

The word “trauma” may be used in different contexts.

· In the physical context, it means a physical injury inflicted on a person by some external agent, like getting bopped by a baseball in the outfield, or punched on the street.

· In a psychological context, it means an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event, like the sudden loss of a loved one, an accident, rape, or natural disaster.

· In the spiritual context, it can be associated with loss of faith, diminished participation in religious or spiritual activities, changes in belief, feelings of being abandoned or punished by God, and loss of meaning and purpose for living.

Whether physical, psychological or spiritual, traumas demand a response, and we know that a person subjected to trauma may respond in several ways.

Traumatized people may be in a state of shock, extreme grief, or denial. Trauma may also give rise to several longer-term reactions in the form of emotional lability, flashbacks, impulsiveness, and strained relationships. Trauma can also lead to physical symptoms, such as headaches, lethargy, and nausea. Some people may be affected a lot more than others. In fact, some people may be entrapped in the emotional impact of the trauma and find it difficult to move on with their lives.

Trauma is usually divided into three main types: acute, chronic, and complex.

Acute Trauma:

It mainly results from a single distressing event, such as an accident, assault, or natural disaster. The event is extreme enough to threaten the person’s emotional or physical security. The event creates a lasting impression on the person’s mind. Acute trauma generally presents in the form of excessive anxiety or panic, irritation, confusion, inability to have a restful sleep, unreasonable lack of trust inability to focus on work or studies, and even aggressive behavior.