As I promised myself I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s book The Wounded Healer during Lent. Nouwen is not at easy read as he is every profound in his thinking. The book was published in 1972 so there are some parts that speak of a time that is past but he says so much that we need to hear.
Nouwen talks so clearly about what happens in these blogs and those I read. He says:”only he who is able to articulate his own experience can offer himself to others as a source of clarification.” That is the gift that we find is many blogs. People are willing to share of themselves. That sharing helps others to understand their own issues and find ways to help themselves. The openness allows for validation of others and allows them to begin to speak out also.
Nouwen goes on to say that this kind of sharing can be: “a deep human encounter in which a man is willing to put his own faith and doubt, his own hope and despair his own light and darkness at the disposal of others who want to find a way through their confusion and touch the solid core of life.
That is what happens as we share our own ups and downs, our own “darkness and light”. We do help others. It also gives meaning to our own lives and the struggles we have encountered. No one’s life is meaningless. Every one of us in important in the “circle of life.”
Never feel that your life has no meaning and that you are not worthy. God’s grace has been given to each of us as a free gift. We must continue to share.
I needed to pick something to read for lent. I like to tackle something that encourages me to grow. I may add something along with the one I have picked: The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen. I read this book a long time ago and I have decided to revisit Nouwen’s wisdom. I have pulled out several others but I haven’t made up my mind about which one to tackle. I always have a few books on the shelf that I planned to read but never got to. I have chosen Plan B by Anne Lamott and Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language by John Sanford to choose from. All three are totally different and I will have to see what works for me after the Nouwen. The front of the Nouwen book say “In our own woundedness, we can become a source of life for others.”
I am reading this again because I have seen this to be so true in my own life. When we have experienced painful things we are more able to help others who have had similar experiences. They are helped to heal by our woundedness. If you have had no problems in your life it is hard to understand and empathize with the problems of others.
It is so important for us to share and reach out to others who are wounded by life. We can share the things that we have done to survive and give hope to those in pain. Others who suffer with anxiety and depression have said to me that if I have managed to live a life that has given me joy along with the pain and survived that they can too.
From The Servant Song
Do not be afraid to share your ups and downs, pains and sorrows, and the things you have learned along the way It can help someone have hope.
There are times when I wish I lived in a bubble and the world outside didn’t matter. Inside the bubble would be love, joy, peace, calm. All the things I long for now. I should add that I am blessed to have love but I could use the others right now.
The trials that I have had in my life were mostly mine to deal with. Something that I could do something about. The trials I have now I have no control over. I can’t fix any of it. I would share the problems but since they belong to others I don’t feel comfortable doing that.
Yesterday I did have to go with my son to put his beloved dog to sleep. My pain was not only for the dog but for my son and his family. The sadness of losing a pet is heartrending. I can’t fix that pain but I was there to share his grief. That seems to be my role at the moment. I can share the pain but that is all. And I can pray.
Sometimes when I pray I just sing the song:
Jesus, Jesus, let me tell you what I know
You have given me your spirit. I love you so.
It is so much easier when it is your own problems. At least then you know that the choices are up to you for good or bad. We have all made bad choices in our lives and suffered the consequences. The world will continue on that way. Bad choices will always be made. Let us just hope that good comes in the long run.
All things to all people. An impossibility. Why do I think that I can do it? It’s because I have a family. I am a mother. Mother’s are supposed to be able to fix everything. Sure we can. Lately I have been trying. The impossible? Easy right?
I love my family more than life itself. If only I could fix everything that goes wrong. I can support, listen and love. I can be there no matter what. These are the things that I can do and I am doing them but I ache because I can’t do more.
I am a fixer. My whole life has been spent trying to fix things. I do know that not everything can be fixed. Can’t that be changed? Can’t we be allowed to do that? The answer is no. The world moves along and some things are good and some not. I can’t stop that. However, there is something that I can do. I can call upon the God that I love and trust.
“To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living”. —-John Henry
Sometimes when you don’t know what to say or when things are too overwhelming you can just call his name. Over and over and over. It will be heard. It will be understood. It will be answered.
Sometimes prayer is as simple as that.
The past few weeks have tested my ability to not lose my temper. It seems that everything that I have tackled has been complicated to deal with. Nothing has been easy. None of this has been life threatening but just plain aggravating. The world is getting so complicated that there is no easy.
I mentioned before about dealing with medical issues and that process has become so complicated that I am not sure that there is anyone who understands how it works. Doctor’s offices have now contracted out to someone filing the necessary paperwork to deal with issues that need preapproval or precertification. One more step to confuse things and send them out into the universe to disappear. I really feel sorry for the average person trying to parse the system.
Also today we took my granddog to the vet and he has lymphoma. That is a terrible diagnosis in humans and worse in dogs. Bottom line he may live a month at the most and will be sent to the rainbow bridge if he is in pain. For any of you who have pets and love them like we do this is losing a member of the family. I really think our pets keep us sane. It is so wonderful to come home to a house where someone is so glad that you are there. My dogs are my “blankies.” My favorite writer says blankies are an icon for God.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Dogs have all of those!
Today I was thinking about the earth and God’s creation. This is what created itself.
Hurt, anger, pain
Do the flowers
As their petals fall?
Are the trees sad
When they are gray
Is the river
More often it is us
It is us
It is us
From its stem
We cut down
While it lives
We spill oil
It is us
It is us
Today I went to church with my husband. Our favorite retired minister was there. I always love his services as he melds the liturgy in different ways and it is always beautiful and meaningful. His sermon was wonderful. It is seldom that I take notes from a sermon but today I did because I wanted to think some more about the ideas and to share them.
He started by reading a short excerpt from one of his favorite authors whose name I didn’t get. The story was about a man who brought a newspaper every day from someone who was grumpy and rude yet this man was always pleasant and kind. “He said that he had no control over the grumpy man but did have control over himself and he chose to be kind. To return good for evil is a prescription for our own emotional/mental health.”
Pastor said ” we were created in the image of God and are called to behave like him. Life is not about how we act with other people but how we react.”
I found this to be very powerful. Too often we do react to the mood or actions of the person we are faced with. We return rude with rude, sad with sad, etc. The interesting thing is that if we do the reverse things change.
My father was not only a wonderful father but a unique man. I never heard him say something negative about someone else. People who knew him said the same thing. He always responded with kindness even with someone who was very angry. He told me that two things would happen….the whole situation would defuse or all hell would break loose. Either way he remained calm and kind.
We do have control over our behavior. I visit a physicians office where one of the employees was always a little brusque and not really pleasant. I made it my intention to make that change and spent time complimenting things (only genuine things and getting to know her. Be genuine for false is easily detected) and we now have a great relationship. I enjoy her and she always greets me with pleasure. A little kindness on my part well spent and a new relationship formed.
How we treat people makes a difference. We have to be genuine but we can be kind. I hope this is a step toward becoming the person God wants me to be.