Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wounded Healer


henri-nouwen-wounded-healer

One of my favorite spiritual authors, Henri Nouwen, wrote on and became known as "The Wounded Healer."  His whole premise was that we cannot heal our own wounds.  Our wounds rather, are meant to be shared.  Our wounds, actually if accepted allow a place of vulnerability for others to enter.

So it is important that we are in touch with our wounds.  What are your wounds?  Is it physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological?  That wound is sacred and to be reverenced because it creates a place in you of hospitality.

He encourages us to "be more concerned with others than we are with our own wounds."   

The Prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse into this reality.


Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;

Mother Theresa is one of our greatest icons of a woman of faith who literally did all of this.

mother-teresa-time-magazine
When an American reporter asked Mother Theresa which is the poorest country she had ever been to. She said, “Yes, yes, yes. I have been to many countries and seen much poverty and suffering. Everywhere I go people tell me of their hardships and struggles, and ask for help, and I give what I can. But of all the countries I have been to, the poorest one I have been to is America.” Somewhat shocked, the reporter informed Mother Teresa that America was one of the richest countries and questioned how it could be the poorest. “Because”, she replied, “America suffers most from the poverty of loneliness.”

Emptiness

“You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is.

“What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.”

Mother Teresa cited the case of a woman who died alone in her home in Australia. Her body lay for weeks before being found. The cats were actually eating her flesh when the body was discovered. “To me, any country which allows a thing like that to happen is the poorest. And people who allow that are committing pure murder. “Our poor people would never allow it.”

Gratitude

“We picked up about 40 people that day. One woman, covered in a dirty cloth, was very ill and I could see it. So I just held her thin hand and tried to comfort her. She smiled weakly at me and said, ’Thank you.’ Then she died. “She was more concerned to give to me than to receive from me. I put myself in her place and I thought what I would have done. I am sure I would have said, ’I am dying, I am hungry, call a doctor, call a Father, call somebody.’ “But what she did was so beautiful. I have never seen a smile like that. It was just perfect. It was just a heavenly gift. That woman was more concerned with me than I was with her.”


“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”
Mother Teresa, A Simple Path: Mother Teresa


“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

Are you aware of your own woundedness?  Have you tried to heal it yourself and found only more suffering?  Who are the people in your life who have been with you to face the reality of your powerlessness?  Who are the friends that care for you?

Finally, who are the poor in your world, in your life, in your home?

You are the salt of the earth and light of the world.  Your wounds are sacred and are not meant to be hidden but shared.

Healing will come not by trying to heal ourselves but by caring for others.

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;



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