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.
Life moves on day by day, moment by moment. Sometimes you fail…sometimes things work out. Sometimes you just don’t know. Today some things became clear to me. I have a calling. I have a ministry that God wants me to use. How to do that is not for me to be concerned about at the moment. I am to continue the healing ministry that God wants me to do. Today I am clear about that. Maybe I won’t be so clear tomorrow but then I can back up and read this and know that I have been clear.
Today I listened, I paid attention, I heard. Now it is up to me to figure out how to accomplish this. The thing is when God speaks it is scary. Sometimes the things we have to do to follow can be something we don’t really want to do. Sometimes it takes too much waiting. That is the scary part. Sometimes we may be dragged by the scruff of the neck but we must go.
I will just take one day at a time. One step, one move forward, maybe a few steps back but always moving. Always trying to pay attention.
The most important part is to listen and keep listening. So hard to do when there is so much noise around us.
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.
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.
Recently I read an article about the factors that helped people live longer. It was a study by a group of physicians who found that the two most important things were not what I expected. The top of the list was being around people. Out and about doing anything that involved meeting with others. The next thing on the list was having a support system.
Usually the list is topped by things like exercise, diet, etc. It makes me think of how many people are completely alone. For people with social anxiety being with people is very difficult if not impossible. I home that some of the current research into anxiety and depression and the brain will find answers that will help.
It also means that those of us who have some understanding of mental and emotional problems must do all that we can to create better communication with others and foster clearer understanding. For those of us who struggle with both emotional and medical issues connected to these problems more understanding will help us to be a part of society and feel acceptance.
We have to continue to educate and remove the veil that has so long covered mental illness and made it like AIDS and Leprosy.
We too can live among others, have a wonderful support system and have long and happy lives.
Today I decided that I needed to heed the statement that cleanliness in next to Godliness. For so long my office has been cluttered with material brought home from the job I left last year and I decided it was time to clear out. I did save some things that are important to me but trashed a lot. It is so nice to see this space neat. I realize that the disorder was connected in some way to my own disorder. When you are not functioning well it doesn’t seem important to be neat. Now I can see that the neatness has made me feel better.
I am not an obsessive neatnik but too much stuff everywhere will start to get to me. I don’t know why I tackled the job that I have not felt like doing for over a year but I am glad I did. Some boxes are gone and only some minor things to file left. I hope this is a step on the way to recovery. When this started I had no idea that so much anger, pain and sadness was bottled up inside. Losing my best friend and her daughter and then my own job within one year was overload.
It has been a tremendous help to be able to share my journey with my blog. It helps so much to find others who fight each moment and keep on fighting. We can conquer the things that stalk us. We can find companionship and peace. Without the ability to communicate we could so easily be alone.
God is good. Our needs are known to him and if we open our eyes we can see his work in out lives each day.
Dreams are interesting. Sometimes we can tell where a dream came from. We may dream about something that happened during the day. The dream may be mixed up and ridiculous. It may be prophetic. It may also show us our hidden feelings. Two nights ago I had a dream that related to my past vocation. It seems I was trying to be part of my previous church in the way that I was before. I was rejected and woke up crying. I fell back asleep and dreamed about the church I attend with my husband and wanted to help and was not allowed and again woke up crying. I realize that my grieving over the past year is not over. It is manifesting itself in my dreams. Maybe, in some way, my dreaming about this and crying is helping to allow the grief out where I can confront it.
Grief is not a thing that disappears immediately. It comes back and helps us to cry and acknowledge the loss. This is not a bad thing. We have to accept that grief hurts and arises at strange times.
The thing is if we didn’t love…whether is was a vocation, a person or whatever…we would feel no grief. Love is never lost. Love is worth it. Our lives would be lesser without love.