In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.
~Brennan Manning from Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
Jesus is God’s wounded healer: through his wounds we are healed. Jesus’ suffering and death brought joy and life. His humiliation brought glory; his rejection brought a community of love. As followers of Jesus we can also allow our wounds to bring healing to others.
Our own experience with loneliness, depression, and fear can become a gift for others, especially when we have received good care. As long as our wounds are open and bleeding, we scare others away. But after someone has carefully tended to our wounds, they no longer frighten us or others….We have to trust that our own bandaged wounds will allow us to listen to others with our whole being. That is healing.
— Henri Nouwen from Bread for the Journey
There are unconcealed and transparent wounds all around me today. Our yard is frozen in time with glaze ice entrapping newly budded twigs alongside glass-like showcases of old dead weeds. Some forty foot trees are bent over in half, their tops brushing the ground, burdened with such a heavy load. During the northeast wind last night we heard crack after crack as branches gave way, unable to sustain in such conditions.
This morning, in the illumination of day light, it looks like a tornado hit the yard — broken branches and wounded trees everywhere. The wind continues and the temperatures stay sub-freezing. Winter is not done messing with us yet.
It is conditions like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, firestorms and silver thaws that remind us how little control we have over our environment and how much control it has over us. Being unable to walk anywhere outdoors that isn’t coated with ice is a humbling, helpless feeling. Yet I’m grateful for the reminder of our helplessness and woundedness. We dwell in this often hostile world and try to steward it, but we adapt to it, not the world adapting to us. We cannot stop the frozen rain from falling, but must wait patiently for the southerly winds to blow.
In fact, the warming and healing will come. Soon will I listen out our back door to the south, and hear the frozen trees in our woods knocking their branches together in a noisy cacophony as the south wind warms the ice, causing chunks to drop from the branches, clattering and clacking their way to the ground.
…from stony frozen silence of the wounded to animated noisemakers with a steady puff of warm wind.
…from bleeding to bandaged thanks to the warmth of family, a friend, a neighbor.
At times when I’m iced over –
rigid in my opinions, frozen in emotion, silent and cocooned –
the approach of a warm touch, an empathetic word, or heartfelt outreach breaks me free.
Perhaps I remain frostbitten around the edges, but I am whole again, grateful for the healing of the warm wind.
It is well worth the wait.