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Story of a Book of Spiritual Healing

Kwang-hee Park
On Healers (September 2023)
Inward Light

My mind goes back to the years of my early adulthood – a time of crisis in my life. I grew up in the southern part of Korea. I struggled with differing wounds: My parents’ separation, my own broken relationships, loneliness, and my difficult status as a woman in a patriarchal society. At times I felt helpless and hopeless. It hurt. I longed to revive my life.

Yet, even as the darkness grew deeper, God’s grace was always there. I had a personal encounter with Jesus. I attended a revival meeting and strongly felt his presence – as if he was standing before me. He asked me, “What do you want me to do for you?” Tears rolled down my cheeks. I said to him, “Jesus, I want to be healed, and I want to heal others like me.” He answered, “It will be done according to your faith.” 

After this spiritual encounter, I began my seminary studies, excited over my new Christian faith and practice. I majored in Pastoral Care and Counseling at Boston School of Theology. As a foreign student, my journey was often lonely. I held onto a daily practice of reading Scripture and praying. Slowly, I became open to climbing out of my dark valley into the light of God. By the time I earned my PhD at Claremont School of Theology, I had studied theology for twelve years. This spiritual path allowed me to experience healing and to find who I am in the love of God.  I was gradually reborn into what Henry Nouwen called “a wounded healer.”

A deep desire grew in my heart to share the love of God, as manifested in Jesus Christ, with those who long for healing. I married a German man who practiced the Christian faith in the Quaker tradition. My charismatic evangelical background went surprisingly well with Quaker silent worship. Both approaches strive to attend to and be guided by Spirit. Since Quakers don’t commonly proselytize, I had to search for other ways, outside my Quaker community, to share the love of God with the wounded.

Whenever my husband and I visited Germany, I felt a leading to share the love of God with the people there. German society has become quite secular. Only about half of the population identifies as Christian, many only on paper. Although Christianity is commonly practiced through life-cycle rituals and holidays – Baptism, confirmation, Easter, Pentecost, Christmas – personal practices of faith are not openly shared, and individuals’ faith experiences seldom enrich one another.

My path toward writing the book that I eventually published in 2021, Stories of Spiritual Healing: Becoming Well, followed from my many years learning as a theology student, chaplain, adjunct theology professor, and oriental-medicine health care provider. I have been privileged to listen to the stories of women and men from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. When some of those stories felt like healing stories to me, I wrote them down. One evening, I read some of them to my husband, and he encouraged me: “Keep writing these. The way you write is great. I like it.” As we thought about publishing a few dozen of these stories in a book, we developed a format for each one: a quote or Bible verse, then the story, then a spiritual practice involving self-reflective questions, and finally, a prayer. We decided to include an appendix to invite readers into an understanding of God as Love, always present, non-coercive, and would use The Lord’s Prayer as a way of building a personal relationship with the Divine.

I was blessed with help on this book from my great friend Norma Pratt. She is a retired professor of history who also taught writing, and she is Jewish. She provided me with invaluable feedback. For two years, we met every week over lunch. It was a wonderful time of talking, laughing, and silent meditation. For me, it was also a time of learning from her. It was a special gift that I as a Christian was working together with a Jew on a book about practicing faith. When the draft was finished, my friend Maddie Gavel-Briggs edited the book for grammar and cohesion. Such a thorough copywriter she is!

The final piece then was the cover. My husband Jochen Strack and I once donated a bench for a hiking trail. It has become a popular place for people to sit, share, and enjoy the views of the Los Angeles basin. For the book cover, we envisioned something similarly inviting. The book encourages readers to pause, reflect, and discern, either alone, with someone else, and hopefully with God’s presence. Of course, we also wanted the book to look attractive on display in a book store. (Though marketing a book is a different story altogether.) Our friend Kasten Van Sander sent us his photograph of two chairs overlooking Hume Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The tranquility and invitation in this picture were what we had in mind. Mitch Cox from our Quaker meeting offered his fine skills in graphic design to enhance the picture.

The book was first published in English in September 2021 by SacraSage Press. SacraSage is a small and growing publishing house that focuses on open and relational theology – a great fit for my book as it invites to an active relationship with the Divine. Four months later, my original leading was manifested: The German version came out, Spirituelle Erzählungen (available on Amazon). Translating the book became a beautiful family project between my husband and his theologian parents, Hanna and Hans-Dieter. In a way, writing and producing the book has become a beautiful story in itself. My brother Jong-shin and I are now working on a Korean version.

Please visit my website to learn more: www.storiesofspiritualhealing.com/ Please also visit SacraSage Press if you think you might like to order a copy of this book for yourself or for a loved one: https://sacrasagepress.com/product/stories-of-spiritual-healing-becoming-well/   ~~~

Kwang-hee Park is a certified spiritual director through the Stillpoint Center for Christian Spirituality. She is an acupuncturist with her own office, Spring Acupuncture & Spiritual Direction, in Pasadena (www.SpringASD.com). Her theological education led her to a PhD in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Claremont School of Theology. She earned her Master’s in Oriental Medicine at South Baylo University in Anaheim. With her husband, she is a member of Orange Grove Friends Meeting in Pasadena, CA (PacYM).

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