Learning About Healing From a Six Year Old

I was six yeas old in Atlanta, Georgia in the summer of 1968. I accumulated my perception of the world by being around adults who were indifferent to my presence in their world. To them I was an appendage. It brought about a sense of invisibility that is still prevalent.

Whenever we left the house, there were two squabbling adults in the front seats of the car and three other siblings in the back to contend with. I avoided interaction with them and stayed within my own bubble. As we were driving one day, I noticed a pleasant looking African American man. The streets were clear except for him. Everyone else was at work at that time.

He was carrying a folder and wasn’t wearing a suit but looked nice anyway. Even at that age I knew that he didn’t have a nice briefcase like other business men. He didn’t have a suit either. He was looking down at the ground. He was discouraged.

Something in my little body was so moved with compassion for him, that I risked my own safety by reaching into the hostile territory of the window seat that was occupied by my irritable sibling. I was compelled to connect with this man. I spontaneously stretched my body out the window as far as possible and gave the universal symbol of Love that I was taught. I screamed out as loud as I could, “Peace Brother!”

I was slightly aware of political boundaries but I didn’t adhere to them even then. I watched the demeanor of this young man change. One moment he was feeling discouraged and the next his head lifted up.  He looked shocked at first and then convulsed into laughter. I shared his joy. I had changed him and it was a sacred moment. I learned a lot about healing at that moment. My brother tried to tattle on me for talking to a Black Man but it fell on deaf ears. It was relevant to my learning to heal. Here are some things I learned from the experience.

  • Everyone is a healer to someone. You don’t have to act or be seen as important to be effective.
  • Healing is a matter of leaving your comfort zone and listening to your inner promptings.
  • The healing is sacred. There can be a million people around but it is an exchange between two individuals.
  • That moment of uplifting another is a timeless event. True healing is done in a humble way.
  • Healing is a random thing. Sometimes surprising someone opens them up for an uplifting change.
  • No one else can heal the way you do. Every healing method is as individualized as we are.
  • No one will necessarily pat you on the back; your validation for helping someone may be the only reward you receive.

I imagine that man as a very successful African American somewhere. I see him as a CEO of a successful company. I would like to think he remembers me. He, and that moment, are etched in my heart. What an honor it is to be receptive to all the little intangible gifts we all have.

What are your gifts and how do you heal?