Trauma- a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event.
This word has become more real and relevant to me as we get to experience the incredible stories of some amazing individuals. Starting this month, we get to spend time with and teach middle and high school refugee students in Clarkston once a week. The students we teach represent many walks of life from Ghana, Kenya, Korea, Dubai, Sudan, Uganda, Congo and Zambia just to name a few. As we listen to their stories, the reality of their traumatic experiences come to life in living color. The persecution and violence they faced have given me a different perspective in how I view the issues here in the USA that we can address as citizens and New Way trainers.
Their stories also continue to validate and reassure me of the work that we do and how much it’s needed. Although the students’ circumstances may leave lasting psychological scars (and physical scars for some), you can feel hope. As we go through activities together, you feel hope arise through smiles and laughter, sometimes even tears. We feel how love touches the human soul and reminds each person of their gifts and value on this earth.
These weekly workshops have become one of the most powerful hours of my week as I see love conquer hate and heal brokenness in many. I see those that would not talk laughing uncontrollably with their peers. I see those that could not speak English well, speak the language of love that we all understand.
Although my natural experience are not anywhere close to being the same as the students, I am learning that any level or degree of trauma must be addressed with patience, love and understanding. I walk away weekly having learned more than I could ever teach. There is truly a New Way of dealing with the trauma in our lives. We must learn to go through the struggle together because we come out closer and stronger in unity on the other side. We are human! We are love. We are family.