Bearing Witness

This week I saw an interview of a doctor who keeps returning to Syria as war rages on there, punctuated by the additional tragedy and loss of life caused by the February 6 earthquake. The interviewer asked him what motivates him to come back repeatedly.  His response?  “I consider it a form of bearing witness.  It is about connection, advocacy, solidarity.”

After pondering all week his powerful statement, and even more his compelling commitment, I explored further discussion of the topic of “bearing witness.”  Kristi Pikiewicz, Ph.D.,who has been managing editor of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychotherapy DIVISION/Review, published a dynamic, succinct article, regarding this topic.  She speaks of how this term applies in psychology, in the legal arena, in art. 

“  Sharing ourselves with others opens up a space where there once was none… Although the tale of human experience is certainly universal, it contains unique elements for each us and we continue the art of storytelling, both verbally and nonverbally, each and every day. While some stories are sweeter than others, all long for the benefit and necessity of a witness, for a witness assures us that our stories are heard, contained, and transcend time; for it can be said that one is never truly forgotten when one is shared and carried in the hearts of others,” Pikiewicz concludes.

May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.  Shalom, Kate

Hope’s Café Bonus:  “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  Maya Angelou

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