Wednesday, June 5, 2013



Wordlessness is a salient feature of trauma. Language falls short in the face of atrocities and betrayals. Writers search for metaphors and images to capture the terror and shock. So when I hear a few lucid words, or find them in myself, I want to write them down. Sometimes I write on a napkin, a post-it note, or in desperation I scribble on my hand hoping to transfer the words to paper before my next shower. 

Sunday, I was at The Naomi Ruth Cohen conference on trauma.  In the morning I sat on an uncomfortable chair waiting for the opening address, restlessly reviewing my notes for my afternoon presentation. The speaker was Rabbi Eleanor Smith, a rabbi who in mid-career left the pulpit to go to medical school and become a doctor.  A healer of body and spirit.  I was intrigued and then moved.  I madly scribbled down her words because they were worth remembering.

Here are two quotes from her speech I would like to share.

“Trauma is a thing that happens without permission or invitation, a darkness that slips through the curtain, an intruder that breaches the walls of the self that each of us holds sacred.”

“It (trauma) is the acute state of suffering without haven, the desolate lack of sanctuary in a time of great vulnerability.” 

Thank you Rabbi Eleanor Smith for words that capture the unspeakable.


No comments:

Post a Comment