Friday, September 1, 2017

Healing

After re-posting on Monday a beautiful book about a flood, I thought I’d follow up with a profound book about healing. Aspects of healing are as varied and multifaceted as the people who must endure. Because the following book is child-like, you might assume it only appropriate for children. Instead, consider how this simple book can gently welcome conversations about healing in many contexts and for people of all ages. The story is mostly told through images so be sure to give ample time to show your audience the many illustrations. 
Picture Book: How to Heal a Broken Wing
Author & Illustrator: Bob Graham 
Summary: In a crowded city, 
no one sees a bird slam into a sky scraper and fall. 
It lands in the middle of a city square.
No one sees it lying near their rushing feet. 
But when Will and his mother enter from the subway 
and cross the square, Will sees the bird and immediately breaks away from the security of his mother’s hand 
to go to the hurt bird. 
He picks it up 
just as his mother comes for him.  
Seeing its broken wing, she wraps it in her scarf and places it in her purse, a makeshift nest. Meanwhile, Will retrieves a feather, just in case. 
They turn around and take the bird home, errand forgotten. 
Upon arrival, Will’s father is concerned. 
When Will gives him the feather, Will's father explains that “a loose feather can’t be put back…” 
“but a broken wing can sometimes heal.” 
The family finds a new bandage, a box, and a food dish. 
With tender, loving care they help the bird begin to heal. Both Will and bird rest well that night. 
The loving family gets a bird cage, and places it on the window sill so the bird doesn’t forget its possibilities and bird friends. 
Healing takes time so days are marked with a calendar and the moon’s phases. 
Time passes and eventually, the bandage is removed and flying practice begins. 
The first try doesn’t go well. 
But hope is not lost. 
After more healing (and likely flying practice) they decide to take the bird back to the place where Will found it, encouragement to fly high again. 
They travel back to the city square, but not before Will retrieves the lone feather, just in case. 
Will takes the bird, lifts and opens his hands,… 
and the bird is off! The family watches as it soars to heights 
and leaves them with a small reminder.
Hanna’s Comments: As I hear of the suffering in Texas, Louisiana, India, and Niger, I have thought often of my friend, Trudi Mullens, who lost her house and all its contents in Hurricane Katrina. So many veterans of storms are haunted by these present devastations. When you live through trauma, healing lasts a lifetime. Most of us are on a healing journey so a picture book about healing is for everyone. Trudi told me something profound about how tragedy always feels personal, even when it’s not, as in a natural disaster. I know this is true. Perhaps this tendency to take it personally explains why the healing journey is so long. Three weeks after the storm, when a group of strangers, a “mud out” crew, came to her home to drag away its contents and sheet rock, Trudi had a surprising rush of tears. She was no longer alone. This was a next healing step in Trudi’s long healing journey. She was to learn that healing is best done in community, community that realizes there are few quick fixes and long listening is crucial. Like in this picture book, time, tenderness, and attention are required. And like the family in this story who stands at the window with the bird, hope grounds healing for everyone involved. May it be so for all those who need healing today and all who love them.
Original Publisher & Date: Candlewick Press, 2008
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 3 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. (Psalm 39:7); Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:11); I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand. (Isaiah 41:10) Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to any group of people in your faith family and explore aspects of healing and hope.