Training Certificate Reflection: My Body a Shelter

woman in jeans and sweater

Updated June 2020

A few years ago, we recorded “Training Wounded Healers,” a series on The Allender Center Podcast in which Dan Allender explored the vision and mission of our unique Certificate in Narrative-Focused Trauma Care Level I, a year-long program that guides individuals through engagement with their own stories of harm and trauma for the sake of learning to offer healing and restoration in the stories of others. Here, Ruth Hester, a participant in the 2015-2016 Training Certificate, shares a poem about going through the program, remembering and blessing the younger parts of herself which are so often silenced, shamed, or buried under the effects of trauma.

Through my time in the Training Certificate, I have chosen to honor the younger parts of me that I had kept hidden in shame. Courageous men and women in this program put on the full armor of God, sit in the darkest of valleys together, and declare it holy ground. Within a small community of warriors, I was invited to honor my story—every beautiful, jagged shard. For me, truth was revealed in the return to my body and the embrace of the little girl who still longs for delight and anticipates resurrection.

My Body a Shelter

Within my legs is the 6 year-old with pigtails
Galloping and twirling on the marshy path to Clam Island
She is in my fingertips
Gently tracing the outline of her father’s tattoos
An 8 year-old lets my back know
It is still acceptable to fall blindly into the snow
My arms remember her when
I grope in the darkness
The infant is held in my tingling scalp
When a stranger strokes my hair
The teenager squirms beneath my skin
A stilt-legged shorebird traversing a frozen sea
I hold the young woman’s hand with her finger
Once girded with a bargain
In the shelter of my body
I embrace my younger parts
That writhe like a flock of starlings at being missed
chipped away
Breathlessly, we fall together
We are not in control
We are broken and vulnerable
We are delightful
In the shelter of my body

If you are looking for new ways to engage your story and invite healing and restoration in the lives of others, learn more about our Certificate in Narrative -Focused Trauma Care Level I program, now online and more accessible than ever before.