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Saturday, April 29, 2017

STORIES OF HUMAN WHOLENESS IN OUR BROKEN WORLD



Dr. PAUL TOURNIER
Twentieth Century Swiss psychiatrist and physician,
author of The Healing of Persons,

Renowned for the phrase, “The whole person in a broken world.”


(Photo via Wikipedia. Copyright assumed to belong to Association Paul Tournier. 
Author of  photo unknown. Used here to illustrate the subject in question. 

Dr. Tournier died in 1986 but his influence lives on, probably because his psychiatric and religious concerns apply to the struggles of every age. Whichever society you call home, you are no doubt in a dust cloud of national and global brokenness. I am, and I need a breath of fresh air. 

Tournier, according to George Bickel, M.D., “put healing experiences within the reach of everyone.”  I'm reaching for that, exactly, myself. 

The phrase, "healing experiences”, brings to mind two stories of wholeness from the month of April, 2017. Let me share them with you

At about day fifty in Donald Trump’s first 100 days of political turmoil and insulting behavior, my wife and I took our laptop computers to a community center a few blocks from our home. The object was to get some technical help. We got that, and much more.

In the center we joined a handful of other other people at  opposite ends of the age spectrum: five senior citizens and three high school students. The young men came from Westview High School


Westview High School, Beaverton, Oregon, U.S.A.
Author: M. O. Stevens. Photo via Wikimedia Commons, released by author to public domain.


the huge public school my grandson attends. The purpose of the three young men was to help us senior citizens with computer problems. They had done this volunteer work weekly throughout the 2016-2017 school year.

We split into one-on-one groups at work tables. We technologically puzzled seniors described our computer problems to the kids,

These young computer whizzes went to work. Their technical agility was breathtaking. Their authoritativeness--reassuring.

For example: I told my volunteer helper that I needed to put my photo collection onto OneDrive. He clicked and dragged, waited a few seconds for the copying and said, “There. It’s done.” 

"Huh?" 

I’d tried to do that myself endlessly, it seemed. He did it easily, instantly.

While my phone was still connected to the computer, the youngster showed me that the phone appeared listed as a file in the computer file menu. I’d never noticed that before. That find made transferring photos easy and quick. I used it to import a photo into this posting.

As a former professor I'm always interested in students, so I asked my helper about his post-high school plans. 

He had his career plans well in mind. He’d studied mathematics and physics and was headed off to college this fall to further education in a technology field. Had it occurred to him that wide swaths of scientific endeavor might be wiped off the map by the anti-science movement? I didn't ask, but whether yes or no, he seemed optimistic about his future. Merely hearing his story in contrast to the depressing news stories, gave me a healing moment—as Tournier put it.

Another story: last weekend, tens of thousands—children and adults--marched for science—10,000 in Portland, Oregon alone. This was a citizen-level vote of NO CONFIDENCE in the anti-science program of the president of the U.S. It’s a story of whole persons trying to repair a broken world. Take a look here. You'll see my daughter's take as a participant in the march.


Such stories spotlight Dr. Tournier’s theme: “The Whole Person in a Broken World.” I need a break into wholeness; I imagine you do too. Take a breather and look for wholeness around you and within yourself. 

(P.S. My copy of The Healing of Persons by Tournier is inscribed: "To Darrell Reeck, advanced to the order of an elder in The Evangelical United Brethren Church (The United Methodist Church since 1968) by vote of his brethren in Pacific Northwest Conference. W. Maynard Sparks, Bishop, May 21, 1965. Very precious inscription and book. 52 years later and I cannot give it up!)


Photo; the inscription, the phone/computer cord and the computer mentioned above.

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