Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wise Words from Henri Nouwen

In this current season of my life, I am reminded that God wastes nothing.  A friend of mine recently sent this Henri Nouwen quote to me in an email.  I don't believe my wounds are still open and bleeding, so I am hoping I don't scare others away and that my wounds can become a gift to others. Praying you are able to let your open and bleeding wounds be lovingly tended...knowing this is painful but it is the way to healing.   Praying that those of you who have allowed your wounds to be tended are able to share this gift. 


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.

When we experience the healing presence of another person, we can discover our own gifts of healing. Then our wounds allow us to enter into a deep solidarity with our wounded brothers and sisters.

To enter into solidarity with a suffering person does not mean that we have to talk with that person about our own suffering. Speaking about our own pain is seldom helpful for someone who is in pain. A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds. When we have lived through a painful depression, we can listen with great attentiveness and love to a depressed friend without mentioning our experience. Mostly it is better not to direct a suffering person’s attention to ourselves. We have to trust that our own bandaged wounds will allow us to listen to others with our whole beings. That is healing.”

-Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer, 1979.

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